|About this Recording
8.559322 - HUANG, Ruo: Chamber Concertos Nos. 1-4
Huang Ruo (b. 1976)
The Italian word concerto means bringing together; traditionally, it has been used to describe works in which individual lines, instrumental or vocal, are assembled into a harmonious whole. My concerto cycle focuses not only on individual instruments but also combinations of instruments in dialogue, as well as the entire ensemble as a dramatic force. The cycle is linked both musically and theatrically. During each piece, musicians and conductor act with body motions, sing, chant, and speak. The first two concertos are both written for eight players with the same instrumentation; the third and fourth (for five and fifteen players respectively) complete a progression from divergence to confluence. My concertos represent the different stages and styles of my writing, and are a journal of my travels in the Eastern and Western worlds, looking also towards the future.
Yueh Fei: Concerto No. 1 is based on the epic story of an ancient folk hero and poet of the Song Dynasty named Yueh Fei (A.D. 1103-1141). One of his poems, "Man Jian Hong", was later set as a folk song which was sung in ancient China. I divided this song into several parts, and put them into different movements of the piece.
The Lost Garden: Concerto No. 2 paints an imaginary world, full of joy and sorrow. In this garden, one can find one's lost memories, or one can bury them; one can feel the wind and hear the birds' singing, knowing that these things will never sound the same again.
Divergence: Concerto No. 3 ends with the players reading an ancient poem, "Sheng Sheng Man" (Sounds Ever Slow), by Li Qing-Zhao, a woman poet of the Song Dynasty.
Confluence: Concerto No. 4 is a summation and continuation of the musical ideas brought to life in the previous three works – a meeting point of chaotic dreams, pastoral landscapes, death, funerals, life, and dance.
The world première of the cycle was given by the International Contemporary Ensemble at the Miller Theatre of Columbia University on 8 February 2003.
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