About this work:
First Movement: Praying for Rain
Second Movement: Shifan Gong-and-drum
Commissioned and premiered by Boston Musica Viva on March 15, 2002 in Boston, directed by Richard Pittman, Wu Yu is sextet for flute, clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), bassoon, violin, cello and percussion (vibraphone, bongo, Japanese high woodblock, cymbal, 2 Chinese gongs, tom-tom and bass drum), in two movements. Wu Yu was a ritual dance in ancient China, which includes song and dance performed with ox tails in hands. It’s a ceremony of praying to deity for rain in the society. In the first movement Praying for Rain, I use the flute, clarinet and bassoon to play in heterophonic style, imitating the tunes played by a group of suona players in village ceremony (the blowing instrument suona is a shawn, made with wood), while using other instruments to create sheng-like sustained chords (Chinese traditional instrument sheng is a free-reed mouth-organ, made with gourd). The music starts slowly and gets faster and faster towards the coda. In the second movement Shifan Gong-and-drum, I imitate a whole group of Chinese traditional percussion instruments played in the folk ensemble music Shifan Gong-and-drum in Southeast China, which is often used in ceremonies and village gatherings. The music is brought to a climax at the end of the work.
Version: Mixed ensemble (two versions)
Year composed: 2002
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Other Combinations, 6-9 players
Instrumentation notes: Mixed sextet for flute, clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), bassoon, violin, cello and percussion (vibraphone, bongo, Japanese high woodblock, cymbal, 2 Chinese gongs, tom-tom and bass drum).
Alt. version: Mixed septet for flute, oboe, clarinet, violin, viola, cello and double bass.
Rental from Theodore Presser Company.