Hong Kong born composer, Raymond Yiu was commissioned by the Prince of Wales’ charity, the Prince’s Charities Foundation (China), to write a new piece to celebrate the Guqin. This new piece was premiered on Friday at the British Museum in London.
World-class Guqin master & UNESCO recognised ‘Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’, Professor Li Xiangting (李祥霆) gave a rare London performance with the English Chamber Orchestra Ensemble (Stephanie Gonley, Annabelle Meare, Jonathan Barritt & Caroline Dearnley), where the piece was premiered.
Jieshi – ‘Secluded Orchid in Jieshi Mode’ was based on the oldest surviving Qin music tableture, from a Sino-Japanese collection dated to the 6th century. It is believed to be the oldest solo music notation and is highly sophisticated. The piece is associated with Confucius’ self-examination of his philosophy. It reflects his sadness and loneliness that his doctrine and ethics could not be understood by people, like an orchid growing among weeds.
Yiu said about the piece, “My recent encounter with qin music, and in particular with ‘Youlan’ (幽蘭), the earliest qin manuscript in existence … drastically changed my musical outlook. Jieshi, for Qin and String Quartet, is my first response to a genre of music very different from all those that I was previously acquainted with.”
About Raymond Yiu
Raymond Yiu (姚恩豪, b. 1973) is a composer, conductor and writer on music. Born in Hong Kong, he came to England in 1990. He is the recipient of the 2010 BASCA British Composer Award for Chamber Music for his piece, Northwest Wind. He was also shortlisted for the award in 2004 for Beyond the Glass, performed and broadcast by the BBC Singers. In 2006, The Original Chinese Conjuror was staged at the Aldeburgh Festival and Almeida Theatre to critical acclaim. He won the Society for the Promotion of New Music 2003 George Butterworth Award and Tracey Chadwell Memorial Prize 2010.
Recent projects have included Maomao Yü, a quintet for piano and traditional Chinese instruments commissioned by LSO UBS Soundscapes for Lang Lang and the Silk String Quartet and Xocolatl, written for the London Symphony Orchestra as part of the 2008 Panufnik Young Composer Scheme.
Lang Lang Plays Maomao Yü – with Silk String Quartet and Raymond Yiu
(‘Dragon Songs’ 23-04-2009)