A Retrospect《題都城南莊》(for 4-part mixed chorus, S.A.T.B. & piano)


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SKU: ATM00033 Categories: , , , Tag: ISBN: 979-0-9016762-4-4.


Composer: 陳浩貽 CHAN Ho-yi David
Work Title: A Retrospect《題都城南莊》
Text / Lyrics: 崔護 Hu Cui
Year Composed: 2013
Premiere Country: Hong Kong
Duration: 5′

Programme Notes

A Retrospect

     On this day last year what a party were we
     Pink cheeks and pink peach-blossoms smiled upon me;
     But alas the pink cheeks are now far far away,
     Through the peach-blossoms smile as they smiled on that day.
     (Translated by Herbert Allen Giles, Late Professor of Chinese in the University of Cambridge)

A Retrospect is composed for 4-part mixed chorus. Based on the Tang poem by Hu Chi, it is about the incident which the poet fell in love with a beautiful young girl. She captivated him while he asked for water at her house in a forest of peach blossoms. After a year, the poet missed his lover and went to visit her again. However, she has already perished while the landscape is as bloomy as last year, an intense contrast. Miraculously, the girl woke up upon his arrival.

Regarding the setting of the text, the economy of words in Chinese places a main obstacle for any attempt of the musical setting to re-capture the boundless mood hidden beneath. To make possible this adequation between the duration of the music and the emotional scope of the words, melismas are set to match the normal utterance of the text with the music. As a result, music is composed as a sound world which aims to suggest rather than to state, to sketch rather to paint.

To embellish the time and space implicit in the words, the tonality of the piece is principally pantonal in order to convey the abundant meanings of each word in this Chinese poem, especially the sophisticated emotions of the poet and the rosy scenery portrayed.