When human life is fragile, only love remains timeless. -Bright Sheng
Bright Sheng continues to expand the striking breadth of his catalogue with two new works for orchestra with soloist and chamber ensemble, both of which will enjoy premieres in the first months of 2023.
Sheng indulges his “soft spot” for the viola and its “range of characters, from the sweet and lyric to rough and dramatic” in Of Time and Love, a new viola concerto written for Roberto Díaz which will receive its world premiere by Díaz, the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, and conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya on January 29 in Philadelphia. Díaz explains that Of Time and Love is “unlike a lot of the viola concertos we have. It pushes the viola (and violist!) to the edge technically, but also has astonishingly beautiful moments. It moves between virtuosic and driven passages—as in the frenzied opening cadenza—and pensive, melancholy, and song-like sections.” In addition to showcasing Sheng’s characteristic shimmering, expressive use of very high string registers, the concerto also explores the viola’s uniquely rich lower range in these flashes of song—a combination that seems sure to endear Of Time and Love to future generations of violists and listeners alike. Tickets are available here.
Though scored for very different forces, Sheng’s combination of lyricism, energy, and expressive solo writing are similarly on display in his Old Tune Renewed for saxophone quartet, composed for PRISM Quartet. Quartet member Timothy McAllister describes Old Tune Renewed as drawing on the “powerful walls of sound possible with four saxophones,” which are contrasted with “moments of serene isolation when showcasing PRISM’s members as solo voices.” In addition to sharing such expressive breadth with Of Time and Love, the quartet also draws on similar echoes of poignant song; McAllister notes that “the boldness and primal nature of the piece is offset throughout moments of haunting tenderness, often drawing upon masterful aspects of [Sheng’s] string and vocal writing.” PRISM will give the New York premiere of Old Tune Renewed on March 26 at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church. Tickets are available here.
For more information, please contact your local Wise Music Promotion Team.