Premiere City: Rio de Janeiro
Premiere Venue: Espaço Guiomar Novaes da Sala Cecília Meirelles. With the support of the Embassy of Canada in Brazil.
Premiere Date: 8 Aug 2019
Premiere Performer / Ensemble / Presenter: DC² Duo: David Colwell, violin; Durval Cesetti, piano. With the support of the Embassy of Canada in Brazil.
Program note This work is inspired by the “Four Seasons” poems by Li Bai of the Tang Dynasty. “Spring” is a sweet lament expressing the sentiment of a young woman: while calmly plucking mulberry and admiring the beautiful landscape in early spring, she sadly watches the departure of their loved ones going to war. “Summer” communicates optimism through the sunny portrayal of blooming lotus in a lake: she awaits effortlessly in a boat. but can only catches a glimpse at the royal house afar. “Autumn” depicts the yearning heart of a young woman: under the moonlight and feeling the soft blow of autumn wind, she laments the passing of time and wishes the safe return of her loved one from war. “Winter” describes an anxious woman sewing a winter coat late at midnight: she dreams the coat will be sent to her husband, keeping him warm and safe from the brutal winter wind in a war zone. An imaginary vocal line is given to the violin which played expressively, and at time evokes “quasi erhu” style nuances to the bleak but romantic poetic essence of the stories. The piano accompaniment is written in a dramatic manner, coloristic and dynamic. Music evolves from the lyrical and impressionistic figures in “Spring”, to the intense and angular gestures in “Winter”. The centered voice of a female character reminiscences elements of Kunqu opera, an old form of Chinese opera of passionate and melodious character.
子夜四時歌 李白 春歌 秦地羅敷女 采桑綠水邊 素手青條上 紅妝白日鮮 蠶飢妾欲去 五馬莫留連 夏歌 鏡湖三百里 菡萏發荷花 五月西施采 人看隘若耶 回舟不待月 歸去越王家 秋歌 長安一片月 萬戶擣衣聲 秋風吹不盡 總是玉關情 何日平胡虜 良人罷遠征 冬歌 明朝驛使發 一夜絮征袍 素手抽鍼冷 那堪把剪刀 裁縫寄遠道 幾日到臨洮
SPRING The lovely Lo Fo of the western land Plucks mulberry leaves by the waterside. Across the green boughs stretches out her white hand; In golden sunshine her rosy robe is dyed. "my silkworms are hungry, I cannot stay. Tarry not with your five-horse cab, I pray."
SUMMER On Mirror Lake outspread for miles and miles, The lotus lilies in full blossom teem. In fifth moon Xi Shi gathers them with smiles, Watchers o'erwhelm the bank of Yuoye Stream. Her boat turns back without waiting moonrise To royal house amid amorous sighs.
AUTUMN A slip of the moon hangs over the capital; Ten thousand washing-mallets are pounding; And the autumn wind is blowing my heart For ever and ever toward the Jade Pass.... Oh, when will the Tartar troops be conquered, And my husband come back from the long campaign!
WINTER The courier will depart next day, she's told. She sews a warrior's gown all night. Her fingers feel the needle cold. How can she hold the scissors tight? The work is done, she sends it far away. When will it reach the town where warriors stay?