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If Heaven Too Had Passions

Instrumentation: Violin Solo and String Orchestra

Duration: ca. 6'

Composition Date: 2011.12

Première Date: 2012.11.20

Première Artists: Ad Hoc Strings Ensemble (Conductor: David Ho-yi Chan)

Programme Notes:

If Heaven Too Had Passions is based on the poem with same title by He LI (李賀). It is composed for a violin solo and the 8-part string orchestra. This movement depicts the last two stanzas of the poem.


Withering orchids escort me along the Hsien-yang road:

If Heaven too passions even heaven would grow old.

With the pan in my hands I come forth alone under the desolate moon:

The city on the Jwei far back now, quiet the waves.


The movement consists of 4 sections, with the second section as core. The composer used a recurring harmonic progression consisting 6 different chords. For each repetition, a varied melody or a descant with some influence of pointillism is added while a new tonal centre is tonicised unconventionally. This shows a contest between freedom and restriction and articulates the adherence and faith of the composer to love. Under pantonality, the harmony also portrays the sophisticated passions in human life.

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