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A message to Han Cho (the Yangzhou magistrate) for orchestra was inspired by the Chinese poem, A message to Han Cho by Du Mu (803-852AD, China) in the Chinese Tang dynasty. In this poem Du Mu expresses the sadness of the magistrate yearned for the day to return to his distant love. This orchestral work contains musical ideas influenced by the Eastern culture and utilising Western orchestration to imitate the sound of Chinese instruments (Chinese zither and vertical bamboo flute) to purposely maintain the cultural connection with the original tenor of the poem. To achieve this synthesis I experimented with the pronunciation of the poem in Mandarin, and then compose the melodic lines to suit the four-line poem which became the theme of the music. The image of a fair lady plays the flute under the moon on the Twenty-Four Bridges is a traditional Chinese painting specially selected for this particular poem.
From mist the green hills emerge and afar the river flows,
grass still grows in Jiangnan, yet the end of fall is close.
Over the Twenty-Four Bridges the bright moon glows,
where the fair lady teaches the flute no one knows.
01 Oct 2003: Performed by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra at the Auckland Philharmonia Hall, in Auckland