Chen Yi

About this work:
Written for harpsichord, di (bamboo flute) and zheng (Chinese zither), for Ms. Joyce Lindorff's concert at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, in March 23, 1994, sponsored by Pro Musicis Foundation, New York. When Ms. Lindorff was invited to teach harpsichord in Shanghai Conservatory of Music, she fell in love of new sound from Chinese instruments which she could hear from the surrounding practice rooms. She dreamt to have a piece played together with those instruments in her recital. As an author of the New Grove Dictionary in women composers, she wrote an item about a Chinese composer Chen Yi, who was about to receive her doctoral degree from Columbia University in New York, and invited her to write a trio for harpsichord and Chinese instruments. A New York based ensemble Music From China turned out to be an excellent Chinese instrumental performing group, promoting traditional and contemporary music with high praise. It's a good opportunity to have this trio Song in Winter premiered in New York with members of Music From China, zheng by Ms. Yang Yi, and di by Mr. Wei Lai-gen. The piece is dedicated to Ms. Joyce Lindorff and Ms. Susan Cheng, the founder and executive director of Music From China who has been enthusiastically supporting new music for many years in New York. About the piece: Song in Winter is a trio written for harpsichord, di (bamboo flute) and zheng (Chinese zither). My idea for this piece came from the pine and the bamboo. Such persistent and dauntless trees! Standing in the frigid winter, they are evergreens. In Chinese paintings, they are the featured characters, while in Chinese literature, they are praised as symbols against evil influences and unhealthy trends. I admire their beautiful appearances and their strong spirit. I express my feelings through my music, which combines Chinese and Western musical materials and medium. Using the harpsichord, an old Western instrument, and the zheng and dizi, two old Chinese instruments, I mix keyboard, plucking and blowing instruments into a whole. The silence between the gestures is like the space in Chinese brush painting and calligraphy. Although I have been living in a western society for seven years, I have found my thinking closely linked with Chinese arts. I merged them into my musical language in the trio. Song in Winter was commissioned and inspired by Prof. Joyce Lindorff, the winner of Pro Musicis Foundation's international competition for her March 23, 1994 concert at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, sponsored by the Foundation. It is dedicated to Ms. Lindorff and Ms. Susan Cheng, the founder and executive director of Music From China, who has been enthusiastically supporting Chinese new music in New York for many years. The work is recorded in the album Sparkle: Chamber Music of Chen Yi on CRi, released in New York in 1998. The trio has also been adapted for quartet: flute, zheng (Chinese zither), piano and percussion, for ALEA III, for the premiere concert in Feb. 4, 1994, in Boston.
Version: Harpsichord trio, or, mixed quartet
Year composed: 1993
Duration: 00:08:00
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Other Combinations, 2-5 players
Instrumentation notes: Harpsichord, Di, Zheng (Rental from Presser [114-40947]) Alternate version for Flute, Zheng, Piano, Percussion. Alternate version, Orient and Occident, for Soprano, Zheng, Piano/Harpsichord

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