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Work of the Week – Xiaogang Ye: Sichuan Image

Ready to explore China? The orchestral work Sichuan Image by Xiaogang Ye will receive its Norwegian premiere with the Studentersamfundets Symfoniorkester with the conductor Ruiyi Li on 27 April 2023 in Trondheim. 

The 40-minute piece consists of 30 short musical units, for which Ye was inspired by a series of landscape photographs from the Sichuan region in central China. One movement, for example, is Looking Up into Leshan, which refers to the huge Buddha statues in the mountains of Leshan. Mountains and water of all kinds often play a role, as in The Boundless Mt. Minshan and Night Rain in Wenchuan. Ye not only looks at the diverse images of nature and culture, but at the same time expresses the people's love and admiration for their region and their way of life. The composer's close connection with nature is also reflected in Sichuan Image.

Sound of China: Sichuan Image by Xiaogang Ye

In addition to the Western orchestration, the piece incorporates six instruments from traditional Chinese music: erhu (a tubular lute played with a bow), zhonghu (a bowed instrument related to the erhu), xiao (a lengthwise flute), di (a transverse flute), pipa (a cupped-neck lute) and sheng (a mouth organ). This combines both the sound of nature and the sound of Chinese culture.

My inspiration usually comes from my curiosity of the undiscovered nature, the fear and bemusement of the unreachable beautifulness. In the expression of the classical Chinese aesthetics, plants, mountains or rivers reflect its creator’s emotion and mind. (Xiaogang Ye)

Sichuan Image was commissioned by the Sichuan Philharmonic Orchestra and premiered with them in 2015. In addition, the work was recorded by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under the direction of José Serebrier in the summer of 2022 and released on CD on the BIS Records label.



Xiaogang Ye: Composer Profile

Sichuan Image: Work Details and Online Score

Website Studentersamfundets Symfoniorkester


Illustration: Adam / Adobestock