Chou Wen-chung

And the Fallen Petals (1956)

A Triolet for Orchestra

And the Fallen Petals is a short poem for orchestra in three parts all based on the same thematic materials. The inscription is taken from a poem by Meng Hao-jan (689-740).

All through the night
And the fallen petals
Such noise of wind and rain
Who knows how many!

This mood is developed in the following sections:

Thinking of all the young lost in violence and terror who, dying, looked back through a veil of blood at the incomprehensible landscape of their lives, I composed this work in memoriam.

In this work I have tried to convey through sound the emotional qualities of Chinese landscape painting and to achieve this end with the same economy of means. The characteristic successions of transparent intervals used in Chinese music are freely embroidered with opulent dissonances serving as the palette from which the composer paints in orchestral sonority, timbre, texture and dynamics. The changing mood and the emotional content of the work are thus projected by means of a tonal brushwork extending over the entire orchestral spectrum. In this as well as in my other works to date, I am influenced by the philosophy that governs every Chinese artist, whether he be poet or painter; namely, affinity to nature in conception, allusiveness in expression, and terseness in realization.