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Never Far Awayavailable to listen

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After the World Premiere of Harp Concerto with Yolanda Kondonassis and Maestro Jahja Ling at the San Diego Symphony Orchestra October 2008

Never Far Away (2008) 鄉思

Concerto for harp and Orchestra

(solo hp/2222/4220/timp/perc[4]/pno-cel/str)

1. Moonlight Shadows

2. The Drunken Fisher

3. Doctored Pentatonics

Program Note

Never Far Away was co-commissioned by the San Diego Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music; written for Yolanda Kondonassis. The premiere performance took place on October 24th, 2008, by the San Diego Symphony, conducted by Jahja Ling, with the subsequent performances on January 22nd, 2009, by the Dallas Symphony, conducted by Leonard Slatkin, April 3rd, 2009, Grand Rapids Symphony, conducted by Bright Sheng, and by the Oberlin Conservatory of Music Symphony, all with Yolanda Kondonassis as the soloist, to whom the work is dedicated.

In linguistics, pidgins and creoles refer to languages developed out of necessity by people who do not share a common tongue in a specific geographic area – a kind of ‘contact language’. At this initial state, the communication (called pidgin) can be quite simple, only to fulfill the needed verbal interaction. Yet once the language is used long enough, especially when children learn it as their first language, it can develop into an affluent language with a far more complex structure and richer vocabulary—the emergence of a creole.

Sometimes I feel it might be appropriate to apply this linguistic phenomenon to my compositional approach—an evolving musical style, fused from several different ones, expressive enough for me to comfortably and effectively communicate my musical thoughts with the listener, while each musical creole is personal, depending on the sources from which it was drawn.

Moonlight Shadows is inspired by a Chinese folk song on a young girl’s longing, under the moonlight, for her far-away lover.

The Drunken Fisher is inspired by a Chinese classical instrumental work, of the same title, written for qin, a seven-string zither, portraying a tipsy fishman’s sentiments returning home at the sunset while rowing a fishing boat. A three-note pentatonic motif is used in different ways throughout the third movement, therefore the title—Doctored Pentatonics.

If your native culture is still the inspiration of your work, you are never far away from home.

—Bright Sheng



月影 - 醉漁 - 多變的五音

《鄉思》為約蘭塔‧孔朵娜希絲而作,由聖地亞哥交響樂團、達拉斯交響樂團、大瀑布交響樂團和奧柏林音樂學院共同委約,2008年10月24日由林望傑指揮聖地亞哥交響樂團首演,稍後再由其他委約機構再演,包括達拉斯交響樂團﹝2009年1月22日,利奧納德‧史拉健指揮﹞、大瀑布交響樂團﹝2009年4月3日,作曲家親自指揮﹞和歐柏林音樂學院交響樂團,全部由約蘭塔‧孔朵娜希絲擔任獨奏。 語言學中所謂「洋濱涇語」和「混語方言」,意指特定地域內,人們由於沒有共同語言而迫不得已產生的「交際語」。初時出現的是相當簡易的「洋濱涇語」,僅用作應付必要的語言互動;但久而久之,尤其當兒童以這種語言作為其第一語言時,就可能發展出一種較之結構複雜 、詞彙豐富的語言, 為之「混語方言」。有時我覺得不妨用這種語言現象來形容自己的創作手法:一種不斷演進的音樂風格,糅合眾多語言為一體,其表現力之豐富讓作曲家足以能自在、有力地將其设想與聽眾直接交流;然而每一語言則由於其獨特來源而不盡相同。 〈月影〉靈感來自一首中國民歌,講述少女在月光下思念遠方的愛人。 〈醉漁〉靈感來自同名古琴名曲,刻劃醉酒的漁夫日暮時分搖船歸途中的所思所感。 第三樂章以三音五聲音階動機為基礎,在樂章裡千變萬化,因而樂章以〈多變的五音〉為題。 假如家鄉文化仍是創作的靈感泉源,則你從未遠離祖國。