Yuan Zhi Yuan is a work for soprano, tenor, 6 traditional Chinese instruments, chamber choir and electronics that was commissioned by the Oriente Foundation.
It’s premiere took place at the great hall of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in Lisbon, in September 1998, and 2 years later was performed at the Beijing Concert hall. The Lisbon premiere performers were soprano Xing Rufeng, tenor Gao Yonping, the Hua Xia Ensemble from Beijing, China and the Antifonia Choir from Cluj-Napoca, Romania; under the direction of Tsun Yeh.
This piece is sung in Chinese and uses as its text fragments of the first chapter of the classic Taoist book Huainan Zhi.
The main idea underlining this piece was to bring together western a eastern thinking, a field of mutual exchanges and understandings, mixing traditional and millenary means (the Chinese traditional instruments) with new technological means (electronics and new instrumental techniques applied to traditional instruments).
My interest to the millenary Chinese thinking led me investigate deeply the Chinese language (language which I believe is the fundamental vehicle for mankind thinking), and as such I decided to deepen this interest by composing a musical work to be sung in Chinese, investigating the relationships between music and text, and how text can influence the form and the musical material. As such all composition derived almost directly from the inner structure of the used text, and even harmonically speaking the music follows the same path, going from unity (unison) to multiplicity (12 tones and micro tonality).
This is almost a music of permanent transformation, of continuous processes of mutation, of time and space, of matter and energy. Music as a living being within the Universe.