Instrumentation: clarinet, violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano *
Year of Composition: 2013
Program Note: I composed the Fantasy on Ye Shanghai in the summer of 2013 for a faculty ensemble from Texas Christian University that was to perform in China. I thought a lot about the significance of the event--particularly that an ensemble composed of musicians from a diverse set of cultural backgrounds was traveling to China to represent the United States and TCU. While China (and the folk tune Ye Shanghai) is always at the heart of the work, I felt that a kaleidoscopic presentation of the theme, and not exclusively a Chinese presentation, best reflected the mission of the trip and the spirit of friendship and cultural dialogue it carried. Thus, the piece unfolds as a series of episodes in various styles and moods.
The title of the tune, Ye Shanghai (Nightlife in Shanghai), also inspired the ordering of the various presentations of the theme. Although the piece is not directly programmatic, I imagined that the quiet opening might represent dawn on the shimmering city, followed by a sudden awakening and a bustling morning filled with millions of people hurrying off to work. The middle of the piece moves from exuberant to reflective to stately and refined. The end turns more gritty and jazz-inspired, and this is where I hope the "nightlife" might best be heard--the entertainment earned after a long day.
* Also available for the combination of flute, violin, viola, cello, bassoon, piano (arranged for the Talis Festival & Academy faculty)
Gary Whitman, clarinet Jesus Castro-Balbi, cello
Michael Shih, violin Yuan Xiong Lu, double bass
Misha Galaganov, viola José Feghali, piano