The Ancient Beauty

Chen Yi

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Quick Overview

Commissioned for the Philadelphia Classical Symphony (Artistic Director Karl Middleman) and Music From China, with support from the Philadelphia Music Project, and premiered on April 21st, 2006 in Philadelphia, my composition The Ancient Beauty has two movements: 1. The Bronze Taotie; II. The Clay Figurines. The work is a musical realization of my impression of ancient Chinese art: the bronze taotie of the Shang Dynasty (c.1600-c.1027 B.C.), and the clay figurines of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. ? 220 A.D.).

Have you seen the fierce-looking taotie patterns on the bronze wine vessels in different designs? The taotie was an auspicious symbol, which was used in primitive sacrificial ceremonies. It had the power to protect against evil. The precocious beauty of the bronze art expressed an irresistible force and a historical inevitability.

Have you seen the shapes of the enraptured storyteller, the vivid acrobat and the moving dancers with long sleeves? They are in highly exaggerated forms and postures, in large and sweeping movements ? the innocent and bold images symbolize strength, motion and speed. It?s the beauty of the crude and primitive power of humanity in its conquest of the material world.

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Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the Philadelphia Classical Symphony and Music From China
Composition Date 2006
Duration 00:10:00
Orchestration Chinese Dizi (dbl. Xun), Erhu, Pipa, Zheng, Str.
Premiere 21st, 23rd April, 2006. Music From China, Philadelphia Classical Symphony, conducted by Karl Middleman. Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell, PA (21st), Holy Trinity Church, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA (23rd).

Details

I The Bronze Taotie
II The Clay Figurines

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