Princess Chang Ping


Composer’s Notes

Princess Chang Ping was based on the final theme from the Cantonese Opera, Di Nü Hua, by Tang Ti-sheng. It is a melody my grandmother sang to me as a child; therefore in my heart it is more a folk song than an art song. It is a semi-fictional story about the Ming Dynasty Princess Chang Ping and her lover Zhou Shixian. The princess met Zhou and fell in love, but they were separated in war as the Manchurian army overthrew her father’s kingdom. She then became a nun, but eventually met Zhou again when they were both captured by the new regime, which granted them marriage. As an act of loyalty to her father and faith to her lover, she chose to end her life with Zhou by drinking poison wine at their wedding. In the end, they became a pair of flowers and their spirits rose up to heaven to rejoin her family.

The composition is loosely programmatic; focusing primarily on the complicated emotions at the wedding. To a certain extend, the marimba soloist represents the main protagonist, Princess Chang Ping.

Pius Cheung

Listen to audio clip of Princess Chang Ping (Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra)

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