Chinese Folk Dance Suite

for Violin and Orchestra

Chen Yi

Duration: 00:20:00
Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

Inspired by various Chinese traditional folk dances, I've composed three movements in the suite:
1. Lion Dance. Traditionally, people dance with richly decorated hand made lions, accompanied by percussion ensemble, to celebrate happy occasions and major festivals throughout the country. In the composition, I use Chinese drums and other percussion instruments in the background, to form a dynamic and rhythmic texture responding to the solo part, which imitates the tunes played on the suona (traditional Chinese trumpet).
2. YangKo. Originated in northern China, it's a major folk dance form in mass performance popularized in the country. In YangKo performance, people always play rhythmic patterns on the drums hung around their waists while singing and dancing. In my second movement, I have imagined a warm scene of YangKo dancing in distance. The solo violin plays a sweet and gracious melodic line while all members in the orchestra sing the non-pitch syllables in different layers as the soft background, to imitate the percussion sound which produces the ever going pulse.
3. Muqam. It is a large scale traditional music and dance form from Uygur nationality in Xinjiang province, originated in the 15th century. In my third movement, I keep the meter of seven eight and the melodic style of Muqam music. The fiery dancing gesture cumulates the sustained climax section at the end of the work, after a colorful violin cadenza in both improvisational singing style and polyphonic writing with woven lines.

The work was recorded on Bis [CD-1352] and released in 2003, performed by Cho-Liang Lin and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lan Shui.

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation and the Women?s Philharmonic
Composition Date 2000
Orchestration Solo Vln.; 2(Picc.) 2 2 2 - 4 2 3 0; 3Perc. Str.
Premiere March 10, 2001 Women's Philharmonic Apo Hsu, conductor Terrie Baune, violin


I. Lion Dance
II. YangKo
III. Mukam

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