Chou Wen-Chung

Yang Kuan, another ch’in work bearing the name of the poem by Wang Wei (689-759) that inspires it, has been refashioned into a composition in which “mutations of the original material are woven over the entire range of the piano and embroidered with sonorities that are the magnified reflexes of brushstroke-like movements.” The title, The Willows Are New, comes from a line in that poem which the composer has translated follows:

In this town by the river,
morning rain
has cleared the light dust.

Green, green around the tavern,
the willows are new.[1]

Let us empty another cup of wine

For, once west of Yang Kuan[2]
there will be no more friends.


  1. Sprigs of willow, used in farewell ceremonies, are a symbol of parting.
  2. Yang Kuan is a mountain pass, known as the point of no return for a traveler.


  • Piano


  • Chou Wen-Chung

    Chou Wen-Chung

    New World-CRI, NWCR 691, 1972 & 1995. Pien & Yü Ko (Group for Contemporary Music); Cursive (Harvey Sollberger, flute; Charles Wuorinen, piano); The Willows are New (Yi-an Chang, piano); Landscapes (Peninsula Festival Orchestra, Thor Johnson, conductor).

Site Credits

Spiralis Music Trust

Design — Concentric, Development — Igicom

Kimberly M. Wang, Eardog Productions, the Spiralis Music Trust and public domain.