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Princess Chang Ping (2012, revised 2016) is 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. The opera is based on 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. The new emperor granted them marriage, but as an act of loyalty to her father and faith in 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 extent, the marimba soloist represents the main protagonist, Princess Chang Ping. Princess Chang Ping was commissioned and premiered by Pei-Ching Wu and the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra under Fusao Kajima in 2012. Since then, the work has undergone several revisions. This most recent revision was written in 2016. It was performed by Eriko Daimo with the Tampere Philharmonic under Santtu Rouvali.
Listen to audio clip of Princess Chang Ping (Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra)