Three Taiwanese Songs

for SSA a cappella choir

These songs were arranged for Shan-Min Yu and the National Kaohsiung Normal University Choir. The words are in Taiwanese (written as Chinese characters). Excerpts from performances of each song can be heard at the following links:

Crossing the River Peach (excerpt)
June Jasmine (excerpt)
Melody of the Three Peaches (excerpt)

Crossing the River Peach was originally form a Taiwanese opera. It is an impromptu singing contest involving a young lady and a ferryman who is interested in her. If the young lady is last to sing the improvised lyrics, she wins free passage to the other side of the river, but if the ferryman finishes the song he can claim her as his wife. Cleverly, the young lady convinces the ferryman to be first in singing alternating verses that describe each of the 12 months of the year (only part of the original lyrics are included in this arrangement). The song June Jasmine sings of pure, innocent and solitary beauty. The words contemplate a flower, but convey human emotions. Melody of the Three Peaches begins with words that could be translated as "Tea Mountain's tea leaves are plentiful. Young lass is picking tea." In this song, a man observes a young tea farmer. After describing the pigtails in her hair, the clothes she wears and how her face is covered by her farmer's hat, he exclaims "Miss, wait! I want to marry you!"

(performance duration ca. 7 minutes)

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