|About this Recording
8.573131 - YE, Xiaogang: Macau Bride Suite (The) / 4 Poems of Lingnan (Yijie Shi, Mingyan Liu, Macau Youth Choir, Macau Orchestra, Jia Lü)
Xiaogang Ye (b. 1955)
Born on 23 September 1955, Xiaogang Ye is regarded as one of the leading contemporary Chinese composers. From 1978 until 1983, he studied at the Central Conservatory of Music, China, where he was later appointed Resident Composer and Lecturer. From 1987 he studied at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, New York. He has been taught by, amongst others, Minxin Du, Samuel Adler, Joseph Schwantner, Louis Andriessen and Alexander Goehr. Since 1993, he has divided his time between Beijing and Exton, Pennsylvania.
Xiaogang Ye’s oeuvre comprises symphonic works, chamber music for various instruments and stage works, as well as film music. He has received numerous prizes and awards, among them the 1982 Alexander Tcherepnin prize, the 1986 Japan Dance Star Ballet prize, and awards from the Urban Council of Hongkong (1987–94), the Taiwan Symphony Orchestra (1992), the China Cultural Promotion Society (1993), the Li Foundation, San Francisco (1994) and the Chinese National Symphony Orchestra (1996). He was a fellow of the Metropolitan Life Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts in 1996 and of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 2012.
In August 2008 Xiaogang Ye’s piano concerto Starry Sky was premièred during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing by Lang Lang. Accompanied by dance and light shows, the live broadcast was watched by 3 billion people worldwide.
Reproduced by courtesy of Schott Music
Xu Xin (1944–2013)
Born in Shanghai, Xu Xin was a graduate of the Department of Cinematography and Fine Arts at the Beijing Film Academy and in recent years had held an important position in the cultural life of Macau. He frequently participated in national and international seminars, and published numerous articles on matters related to Macau, where he served as Chinese editor to the Macau Government Cultural Institute. His work for the cinema includes the script of a film on the Macau-born composer Xian Xinghai (2009).
The Macau Bride – Ballet Suite (2001)
The ballet (or dance-drama) The Macau Bride was commissioned by the Cultural Institute of the Macau SAR Government. In four acts (I: Prosperity in Macau; II: Pictures of Portugal; III: Storm at Sea; IV: Marriage), it is based on a story set in seventeenth-century Macau and Portugal, in which a Chinese sailor Chon Kou and a Portuguese captain’s daughter Maria do Mar fall in love. The ballet had its première in 2001 at the XII Macau Arts Festival when it was directed, to great acclaim, by the distinguished Chinese ballet-master Ying E Ding. A year later the composer extracted two suites from the ballet for concert use, which have been performed many times and enthusiastically received in Macau and other cities in China. The Suite heard on this recording is drawn from both the original and the two published suites.
After an overture suggesting the dangers of the sea, the ballet opens in Macau, a city enjoying prosperity and the protection of the goddess A-Ma, patroness of sailors. A Portuguese ship, the Santiago, loads its treasures, rich wares from China to be taken back to Europe. A Macau-born Chinese sailor, Chon Kou, joins the crew. It is in Portugal at Belém, from where ships set sail for the East, that Chon Kou first sees Maria do Mar and the two fall in love, and sail together, heading for Macau. The third act brings a storm and attack by pirates, who seize Maria do Mar, but the final act brings rescue and marriage in Macau. The ballet programme is accompanied by a broad outline of the narrative, the work of the writer Xu Xin, who played an important part in recent years in the cultural life of Macau, where he had settled. The poem by Xu Xin is given in an English translation by Marie Imelda MacLeod.
Return to Sea  is taken from the opening of Act III, as the Chinese sailor Chon Kou sails on his long journey home, taking with him Maria do Mar. The second movement, Blessings and Devotion , from Act I, reflects something of the prosperity of Macau as a trading centre for East and West. First Encounter  and The First Glance  depict the meeting of Chon Kou and Maria do Mar, the Portuguese captain’s daughter, in Portugal, where Act II is set. Barra Docks  is a harbour on the Macau coast, overlooked by the Temple of A-Ma. The movement opens Act I of the ballet, set in Macau. Gentle Moments , from Act II, reflects the love of Chon Kou and Maria do Mar in Portugal. It is followed by an additional depiction of Maria do Mar . Unbending Loyalty  moves to Act III, where the steadfast Maria do Mar is rescued by her lover from the pirates to whom she has fallen victim. The Captain’s Mansion , from Act II, depicts the mansion in Portugal of Maria do Mar’s father, captain of the Santiago. The suite ends, as does the ballet, with Wedding Reception , which finds the lovers at last united, married at the great Macau Church of St Paul.
The Macau Bride: Ballet Scenario
The sea winds
Seagulls fall in with the bleached sails
Act I: Prosperity in Macau
The Goddess A-MA
The sea breeze rallies behind
Sumptuous silks from Suzhou unravel and fall in folds.
Afar the sails of a Portuguese ship unfurl,
Centuries have come and gone
Winds blown from Europe
Tides swirl around the Inner Harbour
Chon Kou, a Macau-born sailor
Act II: Pictures of Portugal
Chon Kou, a handsome Chinese lad,
Maria do Mar, a charming Portuguese girl
A chance encounter at Belém
Under a ceiling of glittering stars,
Thunder and lightning
Under the silvery light of the moon
A soft melody played on harp and flute
A girl in love
Love, the essence of life,
Act III: Storm at Sea
Storms destroy the mast and sails
When greed goes unfettered
Act IV: Marriage
Black clouds crush sea and skies,
Breaking the silence,
Maria do Mar, loyal, unswerving
Passion boils the blood,
Thunder peals like a war drum
Love fears nothing.
Maria do Mar, a milky lotus-flower
Out of the mud came exquisite beauty.
A ship, its cargo passion
Maria do Mar’s kisses burn
The port of A-Ma
The majesty of Saint Paul’s Church
The light tones of a suona
Chon Kou and Maria do Mar, their hands clasped
Four Poems of Lingnan (2011)
Xiaogang Ye’s Four Poems of Lingnan, Op. 62, completed in 2011, was commissioned by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Macau and the Macau Orchestra. Scored for tenor and large orchestra, the work provides settings of four poems about Lingnan, a region of Southern China south of the Five Ridges. The poems were selected from the rich store of Chinese classical poetry written in, respectively, the Tang, Song, Ming and Qing dynasties. The settings express the intention of the composer to add a new dimension to the ancient masterpieces that would reflect the passionate aspirations of artists in today’s China towards a break with established conventions.
Notes supplied by the Cultural Institute of the Macau SAR Government
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