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Bright Sheng

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Three Fantasies for Violin and Piano (2006)
commissioned by the McKim Fund in the Library of Congress and the La Jolla Music Society
G Schirmer Inc
Small Ensemble (2-6 players)
Sub Category
Piano + 1 Instrument
Year Composed
15 Minutes
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Programme Note
Bright Sheng Three Fantasies for Violin and Piano (2006)

Three Fantasies for Violin and Piano was jointly commissioned by the Library of Congress and La Jolla Music Society for SummerFest. It was premiered last May at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. by violinist Cho-Liang Lin and pianist Andre-Michel Schub, who give the West Coast premiere in tonight’s concert.

The three movements come from three seemingly very different inspirations. The first fantasy Dream Song is a short memory from what I heard in a dream, in which a violin and piano played a very simple tune.

The second fantasy, Tibetan Air, is inspired by a form of Tibetan folk song singing in which vertically the meter and rhythm seem to appear randomly, but horizontally the singing is presented in a very straightforward long-breath motion. It might give the listener an unwieldy 'wild' feeling; yet it is utterly attractive.

This movement is followed without pause by the third fantasy, Kazakhstan Love Song. This is based on a folk song I heard while traveling in the Chinese part of Kazakhstan during the summer of 2000 when I was researching ethnic music along the ancient Silk Road Route. Although I did not understand the lyrics, I was immediately drawn by the sheer beauty and tinge of sadness in the melody.

— Bright Sheng

  • Ensemble
    Singapore Chinese Orchestra
    Lin, Cho-Liang; Schub, Andre-Michel; Sheng, Bright; Svoboda, Erin
    Tsung Yeh
The evening’s most successful offering was Sheng’s Three Fantasies (premiered by Lin and Schub earlier this year). This is serious, weighty music, exploring a wealth of sonorities and moods in its 13 minutes. Sheng opens with “Dream Song,” spare and gentle like an Oriental garden. Quite a contrast to the “Tibetan Air” that follows, featuring some stormy keyboard explosions that suggest a restless, agitated state of mind. The concluding “Kazakhstan Love Song” begins quietly and evolves into extended episodes of double-stops by Lin, played over an anxious, wandering keyboard accompaniment. Interesting stuff by a most interesting composer.
Marc Shulgold, Rocky Mountain News,04/10/2006
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