ODE TO THE EARTH
About this work:
Ode to the Earth for ruan and chamber orchestra is adapted from the first movement of my second cello concerto Ballad, Dance, and Fantasy, for Ms. XU Yang, the ruan soloist and professor at the Central Conservatory in 2006, and premiered on 9/16/2007 with the China National Symphony, cond. by Yongyan Hu, at Beijing Concert Hall, Beijing, China.
In this single movement Ode to the Earth, the solo instrument Da Ruan plays a deep monologue, to ode to the earth. The pitch material and the solo instrumental performing style are drawn from the folksong singing in ShaanXi province, the birthplace of the Silk Road. All members of the orchestra recite nonsense syllables taken from the local folksongs characteristically, creating a mysterious and colorful sound field to support the solo part in the background
Originally commissioned by Orange County's Pacific Symphony (Music Director Carl St. Clair), the three-movement cello concerto is premiered on March 10, 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.
Ode to the Earth is scored for solo ruan (da ruan and xiao ruan), 2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 B-flat clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 French horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, timpani, 2 percussionists (I. wood block, snare drum, suspended cymbal, conga, tom-tom; II. bass drum, vibraphone, suspended cymbal, tambourine, drum set with H.H. & bass drum), and strings.
Version: Ruan (Chinese guitar) and chamber orchestra
Year composed: 2006
Ensemble type: Orchestra:Chamber Orchestra with Soloist(s)
Instrumentation notes: Alt. version of BALLAD, DANCE AND FANTASY
2222, 2220, T 2P, ruan solo, strings