Exploring Chinese Orchestral Repertoire Series #35

Wen-Cheng Su: Kavalan

Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra / Chih-Sheng Chen / National Recital Hall, Taipei, Taiwan 2013.6.29

Kavalan (“people living on the plain”) are an indigenous people of Taiwan. On the southern tip of Taiwan’s northeastern corner is the beautiful Lanyang plain, rich with the Kavalan people’s history and stories. This work was inspired by the legend of Princess Kavalan: The Sea Dragon King’s daughter, Princess Kavalan, fell in love with the brave General Guishan. This was contrary to the plan of the Sea Dragon King, who had arranged for her to marry someone else. The king decided to forbid the princess from leaving the palace forever and to drive out General Guishan. The heart-broken princess committed suicide to demonstrate her love for the general. The beauty of Lanyang and these legends still exist today, adding to the mystery of this land.

First section: The music begins with the melodious notes of the soprano sheng. This is followed by a beautiful melody that describes the beauty of Princess Kavalan as the story unfolds.

Second section: The pulsing rhythm represents the heroic General Guishan and the hope of future generations.

Third section: The beautiful theme reappears again as the princess and the general fall in love.

Fourth section: Reclaiming the land and the prosperity of the Kavalan people on Lanyang.

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