Exploring Chinese Orchestral Repertoire Series #15

Dinghe Zhang: Spring Trees, Twilight Clouds
Arranged: Zhixuan Liu / Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra, Tien-Ku Percussion Group / Chih-Sheng Chen / National Concert Hall, Taipei, Taiwan. 2014.7.13.

This work was commissioned in 2013 by the Chinese Music Department of the Tainan National University of the Arts for the concert “New Wine in Old Bottles”. Adapted from Dinghe Zhang’s “Spring Trees, Twilight Clouds”, which was originally written for double dizi.

Dinghe Zhang was born in Shanghai in 1916 and studied fine arts. In 1933, he studied music theory with Zi Huang at the Shanghai National Music College. He began to compose in 1928, and taught music at the National Academy of Drama starting in 1938. He has composed works such as “Fragrant Greenery”, “Night Flute at Jiangan” for both Chinese orchestra and dizi solo. During World War II, he served as the resident composer for the Central Radio Station Music Group, creating a large number of Chinese traditional and solo works for their national orchestra.

“Spring Trees, Twilight Clouds” comes from Tang Dynasty Du Fu ’s poem “Recalling Li Bai in Spring”: “North of the Wei, trees in spring weather; East of the Yangzi, twilight clouds.” These verses indicates a great geographical distance separating Li Bai and Du Fu, and describes how he misses his friend from afar.

The arranger uses the original theme of “clouds” and “miss or yearn” to develop a new compositional idea. This work is divided into five sections:

  1. Prelude: flowing waters, dynamic – the world changes and is unpredictable.
  2. Andante: at the first meeting, learning about one another and drinking together.
  3. Presto: forever separated during troubled times.
  4. Largo: spring trees, twilight clouds are the fate of the times, feeling lost.
  5. Coda: if we can meet a confidant, what more can we ask for?

(Trans: Kiah Mok Goh / Edit: Patty Chan)

gCO 小巨人絲竹樂團