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The Legend of Wild Geese

Instrumentation: Unaccompanied double female choruses (S.S.A.A. div. - S.A.) and rain stick

Duration: ca. 6'

Lyricist: Hao-wen Yuan(元好問)

Language: Mandarin Chinese

Composition Date: 2017.11 (rev. 2019.02)

Première Date: 2019.01.25

Première Artists: Marymount Secondary School Choir (Conductor: Jane Lau)

Remark: With sponsorship from CASH Music Fund, this piece is commissioned by Marymount Secondary School Choir. The choir won the champion of secondary school girls’ choir (intermediate - Chinese) at the 71st Hong Kong Schools Music Festival (2019)

Sample Recording:

Score Preview: PDF

Text in Original Language:











Programme Notes:

O World! What is love?

That engages couple of geese through life and death.

From South to North together they flew,

how many seasons have they been together.

Happy in shared laughter, and devastated in final separation.

Their devotions to each other surpasses even the most loving human couples.

The couple of geese sighed,

“Flying under ten thousand miles of layered clouds,

and across a thousand snowy mountains alone,

for whom shall I trail a forlorn shadow.”


Translation adapted by David Ho-yi Chan


The Legend of Wild Geese is a choral work based on the Chinese ancient poem, known as “Dirge to the Goose Grave”. Whilst the poet was on his way of taking examinations in 1205 at the age of 16, there was a man hunting for a couple of two wild geese. He killed one, but the other escaped. Surprisingly, the living wild goose did not fly away. It stayed to mourn for its lover, and later flew up high to crash into the ground. The poet is immensely touched, he buried them in the same grave, and dedicated a poem to their love through life and death. 


This sentimental poem is set to music with unaccompanied double female choruses. The choral writings depict the odyssey of wild geese from passionately intense, dynamic and contrapuntal musical passages to expressively slow and lyrical melodies. As always, the composer wishes all lovers will eventually become lifelong partners.

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