Songs Inspired by Zhuangzi

for soprano, clarinet and piano — or soprano, flute and piano

Two versions of this set of three songs are available, one uses clarinet and the other, flute. There are slight differences between the scores of these two versions. Recordings of the clarinet version of each song, as sung by Fang-Yu Lin (林芳瑜), can be heard at the following links:
Freedom (The Lute)
Awake to Disbelief (The Butterfly)
Words and Haughty Pride (The Scholar)

The words for these songs are original poems based on ideas borrowed from the writings of the Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi. Musically, the piano and flute parts of Freedom play freely repeated notes in a way that imitate certain types of Chinese music. The song then flows lyrically out of these ideas as it attempts to understand Zhuangzi's notions about freedom. The character of Awake to Disbelief is light, with agile leaps and sudden contrasts, much as one would expect of a butterfly. The words of this song describe how Zhuangzi dreamed he was a butterfly, then became confused as to whether he was really a man or a butterfly. Words and Haughty Pride finishes the set with the smooth flow of a still pond and a lyrical contemplation of Zhuangzi's imagined meeting between Confucius (who was playing a Chinese lute before a gathering of students) and an earthy fisherman.

(performance time for all three songs ca. 12-13 minutes)

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