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Bright Sheng

Publisher: G. Schirmer

My Other Song (2007)
G Schirmer Inc
Solo Keyboard(s)
Year Composed
15 Minutes
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Programme Note
Bright Sheng My Other Song (2007)
Composer Note:

In 1990, after eight years in the United States, I wrote my first work for solo piano, titled My Song, commissioned for Peter Serkin. At the time, my primary compositional concentration was to develop a melodic and harmonic style within the boundaries of Chinese folk music, which are mostly in pentatonic modes, and contemporary Western Classical music. As a result, all the four movements in My Song were either based on existing Chinese folk tunes or written in their style. I was asked recently by another virtuoso pianist friend, Yefim Bronfman, to write a work for solo piano. After the passing of 17 years, I wonder if there is any change in my writing. I therefore titled the new suite My Other Song.

There are four movements in the composition, the first three of which are brief and provide contrast in character. The theme of the last movement, the longest, is based on a Buddhist chant heard at the wake for my mother in February 2005.

— Bright Sheng

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A solo piano work by Bright Sheng, "My Other Song," written for Yefim Bronfman … was grounded in a kind of purity, growing from an opening movement that largely consisted of a single silvery melodic line and culminating in a fourth movement derived from a Buddhist chant. The second movement was increasingly discursive, the third added an element of earthy darkness to the music’s light, and both allowed Mr. Bronfman to show some sturm und drang. But the most distinctive thing about the piece was its assured calm. Its points of departure and return, between taut chords, suggest a radiant self-sufficiency, like an Andrea Mantegna painting in which figures simply stand, their drama created not through a depiction of action but through the technique of perspective, which was new then.
Anne Midgette, The New York Times,22/05/2007
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