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,
has cleared the light dust.
Green, green around the tavern,
the willows are new.
Let us empty another cup of wine
For, once west of Yang Kuan
there will be no more friends.
- Sprigs of willow, used in farewell ceremonies, are a symbol of parting.
- Yang Kuan is a mountain pass, known as the point of no return for a traveler.