Yao Chen

Notes from the Composer

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Glowing Autumn (from two poems)

Performed by the Orchestre National de Lorraine; conducted by Jacque Mercier.

The autumn of 2005 is special in my memory—it arrived suddenly, and faded away at an extremely slow pace. It was amazing for me to listen to the sound of the wind blowing through the leaves, and to watch how those trembling leaves changed their colors over time. In response to those enchanting colors and sounds, that autumn I composed these two orchestral tone poems.

The first poem, Sough, dipicts the murmurous sounds of the trembling leaves in the wind. I designed the textural proportions of the strings and the other instruments to reflect how nature and human beings are represented in traditional Chinese landscape painting: Nature always dominates the scene and dwarfs the human inhabitants. Even though nature occupies such a prominent position on the canvas, tiny human figures hidden in nature are indispensable for a landscape drawing; humans are the spirit of nature. In this tone poem, the strings symbolize nature, and a few wind and percussion instruments symbolize the human inhabitants.

In contrast to Sough, the second poem, Glowing Autumn, explores the full palette of a chamber orchestra. The coloristic transformations and the bold dramatic gestures in this poem present us with another way of perceiving the autumnal landscape: As humans become deeply enamored of nature, they take nature into their spirits. The boundary between humans and nature blurs, and then fades. They have gradually become one, breathing in and out, expressing feelings, emotions, and thoughts. 


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Comments [41]

martha from Boston

The piece is so sensitive! The composer has such a sensitive ear and heart for chamber orchestra. I can not wait hearing how he would compose a piece for Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Sep. 08 2010 08:45 AM
John from New York

very compelling piece! bravo!
we nee more music like this

Aug. 25 2010 09:29 AM
Music Teacher from Westminster, MD

Your piece is very evocative of the things that memories are made of. The vibrations in the last few seconds of Glowing Autumn brought me back to the wonder of childhood, the wonder of the clock striking time in a timeless impression. Thank you for that.

Aug. 21 2010 05:38 PM
Xiao Chen from Toronto, ON, Canada

I was deeply moved by this piece, indeed, as I saw myself, heard my own heart beats, and sensed my very own impulse of being, belonging and yearning, following these sparkling moments: 00:08 self-identity; 2:30 In the wonderland; 4:04 Sense of belonging, a nostalgia; and, 4:37 A delicate sigh. Bravo, my buddy!

Aug. 14 2010 11:13 PM
lang from Berlin

So moved by this music! It flows so naturally and so mysteriously. This composer has a very keen perception of timing and sound colors. I will definitely keep paying attention to his future works. please upload more music of his!

Aug. 11 2010 10:40 PM
Alan Polinsky

I'd listen to the piece many many times. Excellent!

Aug. 10 2010 02:35 PM
Kevin Scott from Middletown, New York

An evocative tonescape of colors and moods that keeps the listener alert and the players motivated to realize the composer's statement. More to his credit is the fact that his use of a chamber orchestra is full and never overdone.

Aug. 04 2010 03:23 PM
Denis from London

The lyricism that the piece carries is rare among today's new music. Many young composers today highly focus on the intellectual side of the compositional process and ignore the important essence of music -- a way of communication. A good piece can not only elicit the audience's intellectual curiosity (to make the audience think), but also offer the audience a rich emotional experience (to make audience remember what they think about the piece).

I think Yao's Glowing Autumn has this power. Under the colorful and mysterious orchestral sounds, there is a soul calling for understanding.... The brief melody by the muted trumpet near the end of the piece penetrates into my heart.... Hope to hear this piece in London.

Jul. 15 2010 06:33 PM

I love this music. It is the more beautiful!

Jul. 05 2010 08:32 PM
Lauri from Finland

Each time I listen through this, I'm awed: It's like I'm really walking through a breathtaking landscape. The music is very digestible and inspiring -- and the tones are positively delectable! Curiously, the piece actually reminds me more of winter than autumn...

Jul. 05 2010 01:02 PM
Alice from China

how beautiful it is! it could be bravo , if we could get ur CD collection.

Jul. 05 2010 12:17 AM
Hui Yao from Guangzhou, PRChina

this is Chinese characteristic music.After hearing, it make our heart calm and us dive into a beautiful Chinese landscape painting

Jul. 04 2010 01:07 AM

what a beautiful piece!!!

Jun. 27 2010 05:57 PM
Samuel A. from D.C. Kennedy Center

This piece is a poem indeed. Elegant and controlled. imaginative and touching.

Jun. 27 2010 01:52 PM
liu tong from guangzhou

it is such a beautiful music I ever heard,coloful and delicate timbre......

Jun. 26 2010 10:53 AM

A beautiful piece Chen: this is the highlight of my night of writing. looking for inspirations in you.

Jun. 26 2010 12:04 AM
Jone from New York City

This piece is definitely one of the best among the music of these 60 composers.

So many co-independent individual voices in, definitely a big fun for chamber orchestra... each musician can be a soloist...

Jun. 25 2010 11:47 PM
Mathilda from L.A.

This music moves me! As an experienced concert goer, I look for music not only original but also has an emotional power to move people. I think the composer of this piece effectively achieve these within just less than 5 mins.
I will definitely pay further attention on this composer's music.

Jun. 25 2010 03:17 PM
Irene from Munich

gorgeous. incredible.

Jun. 24 2010 04:57 PM
Ryan MacGavin from Brooklyn, NY

This is a very eloquent and beautiful piece. I can only imagine that it is also a fun piece for the musicians to play as they have so many interesting lines and figures. You did a beautiful job of creating interesting timbral colors and keeping the music going without going on too long. The muted trumpet and pizzicato ending only makes me want more...I can only hope we get to hear more of your work in the orchestral and chamber world!

Jun. 24 2010 03:00 PM
Ryan MacGavin from Brooklyn, NY

This is a very eloquent and beautiful piece. I can only imagine that it is also a fun piece for the musicians to play as they have so many interesting lines and figures. You did a beautiful job of creating interesting timbral colors and keeping the music going without going on too long. The muted trumpet and pizzicato ending only makes me want more...I can only hope we get to hear more of your work in the orchestral and chamber world!

Jun. 24 2010 02:54 PM
Mindy from Boston

Beautiful music! That's just the piece of music that comes from nature and fades in nature. I also love your encoding of painting within music. Good job! I hope more people will get chance to listen to it!

Jun. 23 2010 08:54 PM

It's a masterpiece! Melancholy and sensitive! It will make a great piece for a movie!

Jun. 23 2010 03:26 PM
Samuel L from Ohio

a very absorbing piece! feels good after listening to it

Jun. 23 2010 09:54 AM
Mavis from New York City

Such a fresh musical air... so poetic.. his talent definitely deserves to be discovered more

Jun. 23 2010 01:30 AM
Laurent from france

i am very impressed by your mastering of arrangements, intruments, and your style. Your music communicate something wich is very sensitive.

Jun. 22 2010 03:47 PM
Amy Kirsten from New Haven

I really like the sound world - can't wait to check out more of his music.

Jun. 22 2010 09:07 AM

I cannot believe that you have lived in US for long time. How to compose the title in a such city like Chicago...

Jun. 21 2010 11:09 PM
Jean from Paris

C'est tres bon!
Very Chinese and very poetic!

Jun. 21 2010 05:45 PM
mike from London

There is something very truthful in the music...

Jun. 21 2010 05:41 PM

This is an elegant work with much that is subtle.

Jun. 21 2010 05:23 PM
YANLING from Chicago

Impressive and elegant!

Jun. 21 2010 02:59 PM

Mellifluous but complex, delicate but passionate, interesting but profound - this is the music of Yao Chen

Jun. 21 2010 02:13 PM
Katarina from Chicago

So visual, dimensional, and exciting! You are AMAZING!!!!

Jun. 21 2010 02:12 PM

What a beautiful piece!

Jun. 20 2010 11:44 AM
Kelly from Taipei

Dear, I am so proud of you. I truly hope that I could invite you to compose the soundtrack music for my movie.:>

Jun. 20 2010 11:04 AM
Junko from Chicago

Cheny, beautiful, amazing, love it! I feel like we heard this music together at Blackstone...? Those nice old days......I miss them!

Jun. 20 2010 10:11 AM
Kyu from Champaign, IL, USA

Beautiful, Chen! :)
I feel some winds and rain drops....

Jun. 19 2010 09:50 PM
Shan Hui from Beijing

This is a very absorbing contemporary music work... Not difficult to understand.. Like a painting...

Jun. 19 2010 05:38 PM
Martina from New York

Wonderful, Yao Chen. I am hovering on the shimmering surface of a moonlit ocean....

Jun. 19 2010 05:30 PM

I love this music. It is beautiful.

Jun. 19 2010 03:19 PM

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