Chen Yi

About this work:
Chinese Mountain Songs for women's choir arr. Chen Yi (2001) Commissioned by my favorite women’s choir Kitka, supported by commissioning grants from NEA and Rockefeller Foundation, I arranged five pieces in my new work Chinese Mountain Songs, to be premiered on June 17, 2001, at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. These mountain songs are among many Chinese folk songs I have learnt when I studied composition at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. I planned to select songs from the representing provinces in the East, the West, the North and the South of China, from the nationalities Han and others such as Zang (from Tibet), Li (from Hainan Island) and Mongolian/Meng (from Inner Mongolia). Generally, mountain songs are love songs or working songs, praising beautiful landscapes and sweethearts. This set of mountain songs is very well presented in an antiphonal style with the meaning of the text, which also fits well into the venue of the premiere concert. Chinese Mountain Songs (original text in Chinese) I. When Will the Scholartree Blossom? (Sichuan, Han) In the high mountain, there is a scholartree, The girl leaning against the fen is looking for her boyfriend. Her mother asks: “What are you looking into?” “I look forward to the blossom of the scholatree.” II. A Ma Lei Ho (Tibet, Zang) [only nonsense syllables sung] There are many stars on the sky, Only the Plough is the brightest; There are many friends and relatives, Only the parents are the dearest. III. Gathering in the Naked Oats (Shanxi, Han) The man is gathering in the naked oats on the top of the hill, His girlfriend is digging the taro everywhere in the mountain. (“Si Lou” is the sound from cutting the naked oat with the sickle; “Ge Beng” is the sound from digging the taro with the shovel.) IV. Mt. Wu Zhi (Hainan Island, Li) [only nonsense syllables sung] (Hainan is the name of the province in the south, where the Mt. Wu Zhi locates. “Shan” means “mountain.) V. Ga Da Mei Lin (Inner Mongolia, Mongolian/Meng) The swan geese from the Yangtze River are flying on the sky, Ga Da Mei Lin fought against the feudal authorities For his people and their land. (“Ga Da Mei Lin is the name of a Mongolian national hero.) (English translation by Chen Yi)
Version: Treble choir, sung in Chinese
Year composed: 2001
Duration: 00:10:00
Ensemble type: Chorus, with or without Solo Voices:Chorus, Unaccompanied
Instrumentation notes: Treble Chorus, published by Theodore Presser Company [312-41809], 2002, $1.60

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