Exploring Chinese Orchestral Repertoire Series #10

Zhixuan Kong: Red Cliffs (Taiwan Premiere)
Liuqin: Yang Ge / Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra, Tien-Ku Percussion Group / Chih-Sheng Chen / National Concert Hall, Taipei, Taiwan. 2018.2.23.

In the final years of the Eastern Han Dynasty, separatist warlords fragmented China, and wars lingered. The Battle of Chibi (or Red Cliffs), was one of three major conflicts during the era of the Three Kingdoms. It erupted in 208 AD when the alliance of Sun Quan and Liu Bei eventually resulted in the defeat of the much stronger Cao Cao army along the Yangtze River in the Chibi region. This famous ancient battle was also the first large-scale naval war along the Yangtze River in Chinese history, and caused the division of China into the Three Kingdoms. This important historical event is the inspiration for Kong’s powerful work for liuqin and Chinese orchestra, Red Cliffs. The composer manages to depict the cruelty of war and the courage of the heroes through the dramatic interaction between the liuqin and the orchestra.

There are seven movements:
1) Cao declares war
2) The alliance of Sun and Liu
3) First encounter at the Three Rivers Gorge
4) Deception
5) Burning Wulin
6) Retreat at Huarong Passage
7) Formation of the Three Kingdoms
(Trans. Anthony Ko / edit Patty Chan)