About this work:
The cello concerto Eleanor's Gift is commissioned by the New Heritage Music Foundation, Inc., to honor Eleanor Roosevelt for her tireless efforts to advance the recognition of the rights and freedoms of the individual, at the 50th anniversary of the acceptance by the forty-eight nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Premiere performance is given by the Women's Philharmonic with soloist Paul Tobias, conducted by Apo Hsu on Dec. 10, 1998 in San Francisco, where the United Nations was chartered. The premiere of the revised version is given by the Manhattan School of Music Symphony with soloist Paul Tobias, conducted by Glen Barton Cortese on May 21, 1999 in New York City. The concerto has also been performed and recorded by Paul Tobias and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra on Albany, conducted by JoAnn Falletta in 2003. The cello solo opens the concerto with an expressive voice wandering in high register, the tension is increased gradually, and the brass breaks in with angry bursts that carry a strong motif. The following section is the dialogue between the solo part and the orchestra; the texture often has woven voices, with the developments of the motif. After reaching the climax, the music is brought down to a long quiet section that symbolizes the course of meditation and human being's realization. It's a long period and hard effort to bring more civilization to non-educated people in the world. In the concerto, I express my deep sympathy for the people, specially for the women who have suffered or are suffering from violence and ill-treatment, who don't have the rights and freedoms that they deserve to have in the society, and my passionate yearning towards the peace in the world. An encouraging Chinese maxim says: To ride on the long wind, and plough through thousands miles of the waves. We have lofty ideals; we will overcome the difficulties and continue our success towards the future. The sudden epiphanies presented in the music bring in brilliant hope for the future -- we are riding on the long wind and working hard to improve our human society...
Both versions are available from Theodore Presser Company <https://www.presser.com/chen-yi?p=2>
Version: Cello and Orchestra (Reduction for Cello, Piano and Percussion)
Year composed: 1998
Ensemble type: Orchestra:Chamber Orchestra with Soloist(s)
Instrumentation notes: Cello Solo, 2222, 2220, 3 Perc, Hp, Str.
Pn Reduction with percussion, Score and Parts.