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Dance Carpriccio (2011)

for piano and string quartet




Program Note

Dance Capriccio is commissioned by the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation in honor of Lois Beznos, the President of Chamber Music Society of Detroit. The work is written for Peter Serkin and the Shanghai String Quartet who premiered the work on February 11, 2012, at the Seligman Performing Arts Center in Detroit. It is approximately twelve minutes in length.

Dance Capriccio is inspired by the dance folk music of Sherpa, a small ethnic group (population ca. 150,000) mostly living in western Nepal, in the high mountains of the Himalayas. In Tibetan language, Sherpa means ‘people of the east’, as it is believed Sherpa moved from eastern Tibet to their current site centuries ago. Sherpa are regarded as excellent mountaineers and guides for expeditions of the Himalayas, especially the Everest.

Sherpa language is essentially an atypical dialect of Tibetan. The same phenomenon is reflected in Sherpa folk music which is similar to Tibetan but with its distinctive characters and twists of melodic turns. Like the Tibetans, Sherpa people love to dance and, along with love songs and drinking songs, dance music is an important genre among Sherpa folk music.

In Dance Capriccio, I try to capture the various characters of Sherpa Dance, from slow to fast, tender to raucous even wild.

This work is dedicated to Maxine and Stuart Frankel, my dear friends, and passionate patrons and promoters for arts and art education.



—Bright Sheng