Chou Wen-chung

Riding the Wind (1964)


In this work I have tried to convey through sound the same emotional qualities of Chinese landscape painting and to achieve this with the same economy of means: the maximum expressiveness of a minimum calligraphical brushwork. The characteristic succession of transparent intervals used in Chinese music are freely embroidered with opulent dissonances to serve as the palette for the composer to paint in orchestral sonority, timbre, texture and dynamics. Thus, the changing mood and the emotional content of the work are projected by means of a tonal brushwork that splashes over the entire orchestral spectrum. In this, as well as all my other works to date, I am influenced by the same philosophy that governs every Chinese artist, whether he be poet or painter, namely, the affinity to nature in conception, the allusiveness in expression, and the terseness in realization.


Percussion, six players:

  1. Marimba; Xylophone; 3 Temple Bells (tulip bells) — high, medium, low; Snare Drum; Field Drum
  2. Vibraphone; Triangle; 3 Anvils (iron pipes) — high, medium and low
  3. 3 Wood Blocks — high, medium, low; 3 Temple Blocks — high, medium, low; also uses 3 Anvils of Player 2
  4. 2 Bongos; 2 Timbales; Timpani
  5. 3 Tom-toms — high, medium, low; 2 Bass Drums — medium, low
  6. 2 Suspended Cymbals — medium, low; 2 Gongs — medium, low
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