• Tan Dun
  • Farewell My Concubine (2015)

  • G Schirmer Inc (World)

Commissioned by Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra

  • 2(pic).2.2(bcl).2(cbn)/ ( <br>Note: The Peking Opera Soprano and Water Basin (Perc. I) need be amplified.
  • Piano, Peking Opera Singer
  • 28 min

Programme Note

When the movie Farewell my Concubine, directed by one of the most famous Chinese film directors Chen Kaige, received the Best Film nomination at the Academy Awards and won Best Film at the Cannes Film Festival, the world outside China was introduced to and enthralled by the art of Peking opera - many for the first time. The latest offering from world-renowned Chinese composer/conductor Tan Dun, Concerto for Piano and Peking Opera Soprano ( Farewell my Concubine ) (2016) explores the musical dialogue between the piano and the Peking Opera soprano, according to this beloved legend of the classical Peking Opera story. A truly 21st century interdisciplinary work, it combines a heroic, and lyrical piano solo, with exquisite Peking Opera singing/acting/martial arts, dancing and a dramatic symphony orchestra, to reimagine the “double concerto” where ancient myth meets modern symphonic drama.

When asked about his decision to personify the piano as The King in this work’s dramatic dialogue, Tan Dun revealed: “I believe piano is the most well-known instrument in the world, and certainly the “king” of classical instruments, while Peking Opera is the most beloved opera genre in China. The dialogue between the two art forms – classical representatives of Western music and Chinese theatre - offered me fascinating options in exploring their artistic and philosophical significance. My choice in this pairing is full of cultural significations and has many layers, including my personal journey as a Peking Opera fiddle player and conductor in my early years”.

The piece was originally commissioned and written for pianist Yuja Wang.

Press from the world premiere (inclusion optional):
As reported by the Tianjin Daily: “The piano as the King and the Peking Opera soprano as the Concubine, can be respectively found in this piece in the warm, intense melodies and the most passionate piano solo and Peking Opera arias, in a dialogue that transcends time and space. Throughout the piece, the audience is taken on a journey to the heart of an ancient myth that has moved generations through years. The piece showcases Tan Dun’s perfect mastery of such a Chinese “Shakespearian”, iconic piece, his meticulous precision in conducting, and the sophisticated dynamics between different music worlds. Tan Dun’s newest creation is a piece of the highest lyricism, theatricality, and exquisite musical invention, celebrated by many with heartfelt applause”.