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Old Tune Renewed (2021) 15 minutes

for for Saxophone Quartet



Program Note

Written for the Prism Quartet, Old Tune Renewed was made possible by a grant from the Fromm Music Foundation, premiered by the Prism on April 26, 2022, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Chinese traditional music had a fascinating practice of transforming old, mostly well-known compositions into new works. This procedure, called Old Tune Renewed, often goes far beyond the normal concept of interpretation. Here the recreator would become the creator and would often compose a new work based on the older version. The fresh execution would become a new tradition which would be passed on by performers in the next generations. This is an indispensable practice in Chinese music, as it not only prolongs the lifespan of the established compositions, but also it makes sure that the older works are up to date to the sensibility of its performers and audience.

Inspired by this tradition and the virtuosity of the Prism Quartet, I centered Old Tune Renewed on a folk song from Northwestern China. The work attempts to spotlight the style and zest of the folk singing, often takes place in open valleys, while putting a contemporary spin on the music.

Inspired by this tradition and the virtuosity of the Prism Quartet, I centered Old Tune Renewed on a folk song from Northwestern China. The work attempts to spotlight the style and zest of the folk singing, often takes place in open valleys, while putting a contemporary spin on the music.

—Bright Sheng 盛宗亮

BRIGHT SHENG 盛宗亮

to the Prism Quartet OLD TUNE RENEWED 舊曲新翻

for Saxophone Quartet 2021