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Kui Dong: Pangu’s Song

Composer: Kui Dong
Conductor: Olly Wilson
Performer: San Francisco Contemporary Music Players,
Chen Tao, Sarah Cahill, et al.
Label: New World Records
Audio CD (November 30, 2004)
ASIN: B0006A9GD6

1. Earth
2. Water
3. Wood
4. Metal
5. Fire
6. Pangu’s Song (listen)
7. Blue Melody
8. Movement I
9. Movement II
10. Movement III
Kui Dong is a young composer, born in Beijing, who now teaches at Dartmouth. She’s a fantastic pianist herself, and this piece seems very much based on her own improvisations. I commissioned it for a concert at the Freer and Sackler Galleries in Washington, DC, which was part of the Smithsonian’s Piano 300 celebrations (side note: I was born in Washington, DC because my father was curator of Chinese art at the Freer, so I got to play in the same hall in which he used to lecture when I was little). Kui’s piece is inspired by Chinese cosmology and a few of its sections use preparations: pencils inserted between the strings, a metal rod placed to jangle against the dampers. This last movement is called Fire, and it ends with the first phrases of the Wood movement, so it circles back to the beginning.

 

Available at NewWorldRecords.org

 

“fiercely gifted”

– The New York Times

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