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Three Chinese Love Songs is available to order or download at Amazon or iTunes. This recording included Bright Sheng's orchestral work H’un (Lacerations), as well as his solo piano work My Song.

The score of Three Chinese Love Songs is available to order at Amazon or Hal Leolard.


Three Chinese Love Songs (1988)

For voice, viola and piano
I. Blue Flower
II. At the Hillside Where Horses Are Running
III. The Stream Flows




Program Note

Three Chinese Love Songs was requested by Seiji Ozawa as one toe the commissioned works for the celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 70th birthday at Tanglewood in August, 1988. Prior to this I had just finished a large orchestral work for the New York Chamber Symphony entitled H’un (Lacerations): In Memorian 1966-1976, a work about the “Cultural Revolution” in China. I composed H’un around the interval of the minor second instead of using any kind melody or tune. Since it is about a tragic period in China, the work sounded harsh and dissonant, creating the drama and expressiveness I wished to evoke.

At the same time, the inevitable call for the search of tonality in my writing, though not necessarily in the sense of triads, was increasing daily. I needed to write something quite different. The Tanglewood commission was an opportunity that enabled me to fulfill this need and to explore other compositional ideas. Setting Chinese folk songs seemed natural and appropriate. Three Chinese Love Songs was premiered on August 26th, 1988, on a program entitled “Tributes in Song to Leonard Bernstein” at Tanglewood. The performers were Lisa Saffer, soprano, Burton Fine, viola, and Yihudi Wyner, piano.

I. Blue Flower

jing xiarn xiarn (na ge) lan xiarn xiarn,
lan (ge) ying ying (di) tsai,
seng ha yi ge lan hua hua,
sis i di ngai si rarn

Golden thread and blue thread,
They are so pretty,
Just like the beaufirul girl,
Her name is Blue Flower.



II. At the Hillside Where Horses Are Running

pao ma (liu liu di) san sang,
yi duo (liu liu di) yun (yo),
duan duan (liu liu di) zao zai,
kang ding (liu liu di) tseng (yo).

At the hillside where horses are running,
Right above it is the beautiful cloud,
Which shine over
The city of Kang-Ding.

li jia (liu liu di) dai jie,
ren tsai (liu liu di) hao (yo),
zang jia (liu liu di) dai guo,
kan san (liu liu di) ta (yo).

So pretty is
The girl from Lee’s family,
So much in love with her is
The boy from Zang’s family.



III. The Stream Flows

(ei) yue liang tsu lai liang wang wang,
siang qi wo di a guo zai sheng san,
Guo siang yue liang tian sang zuo,
San xia xiao huo tang sui qing you you.

The rising moon shines brightly,
It reminds me of my love in the mountains.
Like the moon, you walk in the sky,
As the crystal stream flows down the mountain.

Yue liang tsu lai zao ban po,
Wang jian yue liang
Xiang qi wo di a guo,

The rising moon shines brightly,
It reminds me of my love in the mountains

Yi zeng qing feng tsui sang po,
guo a, ni ke ting jian a mei jiao a guo?

A clear breeze blows up the hill,
My love, do you hear I am calling you?



—Bright Sheng