Exploring Chinese Orchestral Repertoire Series #8

Chih-Hsuan Liu: Between Water and Clouds
Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra / Chih-Sheng Chen / National Recital Hall, Taipei, Taiwan. 2013.6.29

Water and clouds are the same substance in two forms. Having no fixed shape, they transform into each other, and co-exist at the same time. This piece expresses the interchangeability and versatility of the water in the form of musical notes. Multiple irregular melodies can be heard in the theme, while thicker chorus and complicated counterpoints represent the image of clouds. This work is divided into following sections:

  1. Poco Rubato. The unpredictable image of water and cloud is presented by multiple, continuous waves of vague tones.
  2. Adagio. Musical theme appears among lingering chords, resembling water droplets drifting in the cloud.
  3. Allegro. Multiple notes are piled together in counterpoints to create a chaotic atmosphere, and then there are different melodies crossing musical parts in a gradually increasing tempo, presenting a visual scene of clouds and mist getting thicker.
  4. Adagio. The theme is reprised here in a different tone and texture, played by cello with a rich sound as a metaphor for a rainbow appearing among the clouds. Later huqin and pipa play the melody in a fresh development, just as the rain falling from the sky, bringing life to the Earth.
  5. Poco Rubato. In the epilogue, the first few bars of the piece is played in reverse here, as a reflection in the water.