for erhu and chamber orchestra.
Poems in English Translation
Poem III from The Ancient Tales Li Bai (701-762)
Six mighty titans fell to their knees; who dares to challenge the powers of the Qin Emperor!
With his sabre, he has united the wandering armies of this chaotic epoch.
As if blessed by the heavens, he and his brilliant commanders swept through the battlefields.
Before opening China‘s doors, he crushed any resistance from his own lands.
He carved his glory to every corner of the country, and his mausoleum was built by seventy-thousand slaves.
Appetite unquenched, he vowed to find the potion of immortality. For this search, his Shamen took thousands of youths with him into the stormy sea.
They shot arrows at the long whale, whose nose towers like mountains, who spurts fountains like thunders, and whose mouth can swallow the sky.
With this beast on the sea, how could they ever find their destination?
People waited on the lands, but the ship of a thousand lives never returned.
Meanwhile in the world of hades, his cold ashes lie silently in the gilded coffin.
II. The Farmer and the Silkworm Breeder
Poem I from Sympathizing the Farmers - Li Shen (772-846)
One who plants a seed in the spring will receive ten thousand harvests in the fall.
There are no idle farms on this land, yet our farmers are starving to death.
The Silk Woman - Zhang Yu (circa 1000)
After I entered the city yesterday,
I left with tears that drenched my handkerchief.
Those who wear silk all around,
Are not those who bred the silkworms.
III. Pick Up Thy Brush!
Introduction to The New Court Music - Bai Juyi (772-846)
Pick up thy brush for words and songs,
write and sing for this epoch!
Sarah Tao He, erhu
Brett Abigana, conductor
Premiered in Boston University, 2015
· Blue Seas
Wind Band. Premiered by Dougherty Valley High School Wind Ensemble. Conducted by Teri Musiel.