Chamber Music of Chen Yi: The Program
New Horizons Music Festival
Sunday April 22 at 8 p.m. in Fulkerson Recital Hall
Qi (1997) Mixed Quartet for flute, cello, piano and percussion
Eugene Novotney, Laura Snodgrass, Carol Jacobson and Daniela Mineva
Qi is a Chinese character meaning air, energy, power and spirit. A combination of western instruments create the sound of the East, in Chen Yi’s words “to express my feelings of the Qi abstractly—it’s so untouchable, so mysterious, but so strong and powerful. It melts into air and light, it’s like the space in Chinese paintings, it is filled into the dancing lines of Chinese calligraphy; it’s the spirit in the human mind.”
Fisherman Song (1979) Violin and Piano
Cindy Moyer and Robin Miller
With a melody in Cantonese folk song style, Fisherman’s Song had its U.S. premiere in San Francisco in 1996.
Cindy Moyer and Robin Miller
This “sad and lovely song of loss” is a memorial work written for Chen Yi’s teacher and mentor, Professor Lin Yaoji.
The Han Figurines (2006) Mixed Ensemble
Virginia Ryder, Karen Davy, Shao Way, Eugene Novotney and Robin Miller
A musical realization of the composer’s impressions of Chinese clay figurines of the Eastern Han (25-220 A.D.) Chen Yi: “Have you seen the shapes of the enraptured storyteller, the vivid acrobat and the moving dancers with long sleeves? They are in highly exaggerated forms and postures, in large and sweeping movements—the innocent and bold images symbolize the strength, motion and speed. It’s the beauty of the crude and primitive power of humanity in its conquest of the material world.”
As in a Dream (1988) Soprano, violin and cello
Cindy Moyer, Elisabeth Harrington, Thalia Moor
The words of the songs come from two poems by Li Qing-zhao, a famous poet of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), Suggesting the “reciting speech and lingering charm of the Chinese traditional opera...”
Tibetan Tunes (2006) Violin, cello and piano
Terrie Baune, Thalia Moor, Daniela Mineva
The first movement is inspired by a Tibetan folk tune. The music “presents the rich gestures of Du Mu (a god in Tibetan Buddhism) in a serene mood.”
Chinese Ancient Dance (2004) Clarinet and piano
Virginia Ryder, Daniela Mineva
The first movement, “Ox Tail Dance,” is an imagined version of an ancient tradition. The second movement, “Hu Xuan Dance,” was suggested by a Tang Dynasty poem. Chen Yi: “The energetic dance has continuing fast-spinning gestures, introduced to China from the West in ancient times.”
Three Bagatelles From China West (2006) Flute and piano
Laura Snodgrass, Daniela Mineva
Inspired by folk music and folk instruments from China West. Laura Snodgrass: "The Chinese wooden flute uses a lot of micro-tones and slide effects not typical of the western metal instrument, so it calls for a very different playing style."
The Points (1991)
transcribed for the guitar and performed by Nicholas Lambson
Composed originally for the Chinese lute called the pipa, and influenced by the centuries of music for that instrument, it is also inspired by the eight standard strokes in Chinese calligraphy: the points.
Photos from top to bottom: Laura Snodgrass and Daniela Mineva, Virginia Ryder, Elisabeth Harrington, Nicholas Lambson.