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Wan Ge (the Elegy)

for guzheng, gender and voices

Year:  2005   ·  Duration:  8m 38s

Year:  2005
Duration:  8m 38s

Shen Nalin

Composer:   Shen Nalin


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Wan ge (Elegy) uses a poem by Tao Qian (Tao Yuanming) (365-427), who is one of the greatest poets in the Weijing period. The poem embodies the poet's concepts about life and death. I am very fond of Tao Qian’s poem and I appreciate the imagery in his works relating life to death, honour to disgrace, wine and life and so on. I also love the sounds of Chinese guzheng zither and the Indonesian gender metalophone with their soft, subtle, and deliciously mysterious sounds. I composed music that marries the poem and the music with both English and Chinese.

Wan ge (Elegy) was dedicated to Jack Body, and was included in the Vita Brevis concert - the Inter-Cultural Meditation on Life's Brevity combined Indonesian gamelan, various vocal styles, spoken word, electronic sound, traditional dance, and a choir specialising in Gregorian chant, and included music by composers Gareth Farr, Jack Body, Chinese composer Shen Nalin, and Indonesian composers Wayan Yudane and Budi Putra. This concert which took place in mid-November 2005. This event paid tribute to those who died before their time, particularly the 130,000 victims who died in North Sumatra, Indonesia, during the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

Shen Nalin

Dedication note

dedicated to Jack Body

Text note

poem by Tao Qian, also known as Tao Yuanming (365-427)

Performance history

20 Nov 2005: Performed by Yono Soeharno (genders), Wang Xingxing (guzheng), Robert Easting (voice in English), Shen Nalin (voice in Chinese) at St. Mary of the Angels Church, Wellington

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