© JEFFREY GAO 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

"Love & Lost" - Song Cycle for High Voice & Piano from Li Qingzhao Poems 19'

 

The Song Cycle is based on the poems by Li Qingzhao ( 1084 – 1155) , arguably the most celebrated woman poet in China’s history.

A Touch of Crimson Lips (点绛唇), was written in Li's early years.  It describes a young girls playful outing in one morning.  Both Drunken Flower Shade (醉花阴) and A Spray of Plum Blossoms (一剪梅) were written when she was a newly wed.  In both poems, Li expresses longing for her beloved husband who was stationed far away at the time.

 

In recitative style, Like a Dream (如梦令) describes the poet witnessing the fallen flowers in her garden after a rainstorm.  As a young woman, she was already lamenting her lost youth.

 

A Slow Tune (声声慢) was written towards the end of Li Qingzhao’s storied life.  Perhaps one of her most daring and unconventional poems, the now ailing and widowed poet portrays her tremendous loneliness and sorrow.  The minimalistic styled music is reminiscent of the theatric effect from traditional Chinese drama.

 

I. A Touch of Crimson Lips - 点绛唇

II. Drunken Flower Shade - 醉花阴

III. A Spray of Plum Blossoms - 一剪梅

IV. Like a Dream - 如梦令

V. A Slow Tune  - 声声慢