About this work:
Chen Yi Ballad, Dance and Fantasy for cello and orchestra (2003) (fingering and bowing by Yo-Yo Ma) Commissioned by Orange County’s Pacific Symphony (Music Director Carl St. Clair), the concerto is premiered on March 10 & 11, 2004, with cellist Yo-Yo Ma on the American Composers Festival: Tradewinds from China, at the Segerstrom Hall, Costa Mesa, California.The work is dedicated to Yo-Yo Ma and the Pacific Symphony directed by Carl St. Clair, in honor of Pacific Symphony supporters Arlene and George Cheng. Scored for solo cello, 2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 B-flat clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 French horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, 3 percussionists (I. wood block, snare drum, conga, tom-tom; II. suspended cymbal, tambourine, glockenspiel; III. bass drum), harp, and strings. Tracing back to the ancient culture on the Silk Road, I treasure the spirit of the eastern earth while walking into the rest of the world, and look forward to the peace in the future. The work includes three movements: I. Ballad of the Earth; II. Dance on the Silk Road; III. Fantasy for the Global Village. The duration is about 27 minutes. In the first movement Ballad of the Earth, the solo cello plays a deep monologue, to ode to the earth. The musical style is drawn from the folk music in ShaanXi province, the birthplace of the Silk Road. In the second movement Dance on the Silk Road, I got my inspiration from the ancient Chinese Qiu Zi Music (in today’s Xin Jiang province) and the Hu Xuan Dance (brought from Mongolia), originated in the area on the Silk Road, which was introduced to China from the West in Tang Dynasty. The cello solo plays a virtuoso part representing the major dancing role. The music continues on the solo cello part without a pause into the third movement, which is entitled Fantasy for the Global Village. The music is expressive and impassioned, and the spirit is high and encouraging.
(Alt. version of the 2nd mvt DANCE ON THE SILK ROAD for cello solo)
Dance on the Silk Road is adapted from the second movement of the cello concerto Ballad, Dance, and Fantasy for solo cello in 2020, commissioned by the cellist, Mr. Sihao He of the Northwestern University, for his project Bach Through the Looking Glass of China with performances on his international concert tour.