The Orchid Ensemble is in the process of finishing its 4th CD “From A Dream”, featuring original compositions the ensemble has commissioned between 2000 and 2010.
From a Dream《夢境》－Dorothy Chang 張彥芸 (2010)
Inspired by various images of China’s Huangshan (“Yellow Mountain”), From a Dream was composed to reflect the poetic qualities of this spectacular sight: stillness, strength, delicacy, eternalness. The work contains five main sections, each one loosely representing specific imagery of the mountain, from the dream-like drifting layers of mist and clouds, to its sparkling waterfalls, craggy peaks and ancient pine trees. The opening is quiet, minimal and static, then gradually gathers momentum. From a Dream was commissioned by the Orchid Ensemble, with funding from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Ghosts of the Living 《人鬼》－ Farshid Samandari (2008)
This piece depicts characters who breathe, act, and haunt the well-being of others as ghosts. It focuses on paradoxical and ironic dual nature of such beings. Ghosting acts as a function that binds distinct melodic modes and tonal centres to form a composite modal system, it also creates a framework for the polyrhythm. The piece is inspired by the following story by Sa’dī: An unjust king asked a devotee what kind of worship is best? He replied: “For thee the best is to sleep one half of the day so as not to injure the people for a while.”
I saw a tyrant sleeping half the day.
I said: “This confusion, if sleep removes it, so much the better”:
But he whose sleep is better than his wakefulness
Is better dead than leading such a bad life.”
(Gulistan of Sa’dī Edwin Arnold tr.)
Fire 《火》－ Jin Zhang張進 (2007)
The piece takes inspiration from a major fire that burned Nanaimo Chinatown to the ground in 1960. Fire also represents struggle, hardship and the opportunity for regeneration and rebirth.
No Rush 《緩》－ Jin Zhang張進（2000）
Written in three sections, this work is an exploration of contrasts, moving between tenderness and strength, forcefulness and tranquility. The piece was commissioned by Orchid Ensemble with a Canada Council grant.
Xiao He Tang Shui (Little Stream) – arr. Lan Tung (2010), Chinese folk song 《小河淌水》－董籃 (2010) 改編自雲南民歌
Under the moonlight by the foot of the mountains, she sings a haunting melody to her lover, who has gone logging in the deep forests. This is a famous folk song from southwestern China. Lan’s arrangement features a dialogue between the voice and the zheng, contrasting between lyrical and rhythmic phrasings, with room for improvisation.
The rising moon shines over the river
Seeing the moon reminds me of my love in the deep mountains
He is like the moon walking in the sky
My love, do you hear me?
Listening to the Pines (Ting Song) 《聽松》（聽宋）－Hua Yan-jun (1890-1950), Arr. Lan Tung (2004) 華彥君曲，董籃編曲
During the Song Dynasty (960AD -1279AD) there were many wars between the Han in central China and the invading northern Jin (Jurchen). One account from this period describes a battle where the forces of Yue Fei, the famous Han general, routed the Jin army, which then fled in panic to the foot of a mountain. There the Jin waited anxiously, listening to the sound of the approaching Han troops by putting their ears to stones known as pine stones. This piece was inspired by that event. Hua Yan-Jun, also know as A Bing, was a wandering blind folk musician who left a rich legacy of compositions that have become “classics” in Chinese music.