Si Ji (Four Seasons)

for Orchestra

Chen Yi

Duration: 00:14:00
Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

In the late summer of 2004, I was selected as the second Roche Commissions composer. In partnership with Lucerne Festival and Carnegie Hall, Roche asked me to write a new work for the Cleveland Orchestra to premiere on August 26, 2005, in Lucerne, on October 13 and 15 in Cleveland, and on October 17 in New York. The award ceremony was held at the Roche Forum Buonas, Switzerland.

On another trip to Basel in the early summer, I had an exciting tour of Roche, one of the world?s leading research-based healthcare companies, whose innovative work enhances well-being and quality of life of people worldwide. I visited Roche?s R&D departments in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, as well as the inspiring Tinguely Museum and the renowned Paul Sacher Foundation. I deeply appreciate Roche?s achievement and admire its cultural tradition, which has played an important role in its development over the years. I think that traditions, inspiration, and innovation are closely related to one another, no matter whether in the arts or in science.

From my East-West cultural background, my music is always a natural hybrid of Chinese traditional music elements and Western instrumentation and form, combined in my own musical language and style. In Chinese cultural tradition, in which I am deeply rooted, music is a part of an organic art form, along with poetry, calligraphy, and painting. I love the traditional Chinese art, and think that it would be inspiring not only for artistic creation in an abstract form (as in my case, music composition), but also for scientific invention in an innovative process (as, perhaps, in the case of Roche research.)

In seeking to connect with a wide range of listeners, I got the inspiration to compose my new orchestral work, Si Ji (?Four Seasons?), from four ancient Chinese poems written by Su Shi (1036?1101) and Zeng Gong (1019?1083) during the Song Dynasty.

The four Chinese ancient poems were written about beautiful yet dramatic scenes from the four seasons of nature. Musical textures permit me to present concretely the rich images and expressions that are given quite abstractly in the poems. The music, in a single movement with four sections corresponding to the four poems, should be performed without pause. Together, the parts reflect the eternal evolution and challenges of nature, and the analogous relationship to the challenges of the human experience. The piece has dramatic contrasts symbolizing the growth and maturation processes of individuals, communities, and societies. It also suggests images of conflict, struggle, yearning, encouragement, and triumph.

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by Roche for the Lucerne Festival
Composition Date 2005
Orchestration 4(Picc.) 4(E.H.) 4(B.Cl.) 4(Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1; Timp.(dbl. Perc.) 4Perc. Hp. Str.
Premiere August 26, 2005 - Lucerne Festival Sommer 2005 Cleveland Orchestra Franz Welser-M

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