• pf, 2vn, va, vc
  • 12 min

Programme Note

Composer Note:
Dance Capriccio is commissioned by the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation in honor of Lois Beznos, the President of the Chamber Music Society of Detroit. The work is written for Peter Serkin and the Shanghai String Quartet who premiered the work on February 11, 2012, at the Seligman Performing Arts Center in Detroit. It is approximately twelve minutes in length.

Dance Capriccio is inspired by the dance folk music of Sharpa, a small ethnic group (population ca. 150,000) mostly living in western Nepal, in the high mountains of the Himalayas. In Tibetan language, Sharpa means "people of the east," as it is believed Sharpa moved from eastern Tibet to their current site centuries ago. Sharpas are regarded as excellent mountaineers and guides for the expeditions of the Himalayas, especially the Everest.

Sharpa language is essentially an atypical dialect of Tibetan. The same phenomenon is reflected in Sharpa folk music which is similar to Tibetan but with its distinctive characters and twists of melodic turns. Like the Tibetans, Sharpa people love to dance and, along with love songs and drinking songs, dance music is an important genre among Sharpa folk music.

In Dance Capriccio, I try to capture the various characters of Sharpa dance, from slow to fast, tender to raucous even wild.

This work is dedicated to Maxine and Stuart Frankel, my dear friends, and passionate patrons and promoters for arts and art education.

— Bright Sheng



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