Chen Yi

About this work:
The work was commissioned by Music From China ensemble and Prism Saxophone Quartet, with a commissioning grant provided by the New York State Council on the Arts in 2008. Scored for Chinese traditional instruments erhu and pipa, percussion and saxophone quartet, the piece is premiered on 2/27/09 in Philadelphia and on 2/28/08 at Merkin Hall in New York City. Duration is about 14 min. The imagination of this music came from the figures in the murals carved in the Mogao Caves in the ancient city Dunhuang more than a thousand years ago. The name Dunhuang originally meant "prospering, flourishing". Lying at the western end of the Gansu Corridor in China, Dunhuang was very important in the Silk Road that carried new thoughts, ideas, arts and sciences to the East and West in the ancient time. The Mogao Grottoes were built and developed over 11 dynasties over more than 1,000 years (from the 4th to 14th centuries), with murals, sculptures, wooden cave buildings and books. It was really the heyday of the art of Dunhuang in the brilliant Tang Dynasty (618-907). The murals depict rolling dance gestures, the flapping streamer lines, the flying melodies around the clouds, and the fiery rhythms in the sky! It shows the high spirit and the strong power of the people and their society. All these impressions are translated into the textures of the two Chinese traditional instrumental parts with support from a set of percussion instruments, and the sound of a saxophone quartet. It's mysterious, vivid, colorful and energetic, it brings us to dream of the ancient glory and yearn for the future...
Year composed: 2008
Duration: 00:14:00
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Other Combinations, 6-9 players

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