Exploring Chinese Orchestral Repertoire Series #23

Zhixuan Kong: Fantasy of Flying Apsaras (Taiwan Premiere)
Pipa: Ying Zhang / Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra, Tien-Ku Percussion Group / Chih-Sheng Chen / National Concert Hall, Taipei, Taiwan 2018.8.18.

Pipa concerto Fantasy of Flying Apsaras was inspired by the images of flying apsaras who play instruments on the murals in Mogao Grottoes. There, scenes of instrumental ensembles performed by apsaras who play various ancient instruments such as pipa, guzheng, dizi, sheng and bili are depicted. Among them, the artistic image of playing pipa is particularly famous and has touched me deeply. This concerto is based on the structural principles of Daqu of Tang Dynasty and is infused with elements of East Asian, Middle Asian and South Asian music, the tune materials of which is drawn from Yi Zhou and Qing Bei Le, respectively the 24th and 12th piece of the Dunhuang ancient notations, which were interpreted by Prof. Ye Dong.

This work displays vivid imaginings of the beginning and the splendid past life of Mogao Grottoes, and makes an attempt to depict the prosperity scenes of ancient Dunhuang by music so as to express my reverence and longing for the Daqu of Tang Dynasty.

This concerto includes three movements, and they are played without interruption:
I. Sanxu: Ad libitum – Largo – Ad libitum
II. Zhongxu: Andante – Allegro
III. Po: Cadenza – Presto – Andante.
~ KONG Zhixuan