Night Song

Night Song (2010)
for High Voice and Piano

Commissioned by Wei-Tsung Fu

World Premiere:
January 11, 2018
Lecture Recital, International Conference of Performing and Visual Arts
Bilik Seminar 1, Cultural Centre, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Jin Hin Yap, tenor; Feng-Hsu Lee, piano
ICPVA

Duration: 8 minutes

Program Notes

Night Song is a vocal piece commissioned by Wei-Tsung Fu, a good friend of mine. We studied at National Taiwan Normal University and participated in YinQi Chorus together. He was also a winner of Taipei Chinese Art Song Competition in 2009 and asked me to compose a new Chinese song for him to perform in the winner concert in 2011.

The lyrics of Night Song are from a poem written by Chen Li, who was inspired by Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 7, yet this poem also mentions about a Taiwanese folksong, Plow Song. As a result, I decided not only to quote these two pieces, but also to use the last half of the second movement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 as a structural guide for the whole piece. I used the juxtaposed composition technique to deal with the quotations, and I follow the Mahler and Chen Li’s structure while maintaining my own musical voice. The integrating process creates an eccentric and unique atmosphere, which is particularly interesting to me. Lastly, I would like to thank Mr. Chen Li for kindly allowing me to compose this piece based on his poem.

Night Song  by Chen Li

By the mailbox on the street corner
I stop my car, turn off the engine, and doze for a while.
In front are glimmering traffic lights;
the sea we know well is at a short distance.

I doze on the street waiting for my daughter
to walk out of the piano room of the college after her lesson.
When I left home, my VCR was recording
Mahler’s Song of the Night. The laborious
long day will be rewound and repeated tomorrow.

Several mosquitoes fly into the car
biting an exhausted human body in the dark :
the mosquitoes of Hualien biting this native
of Hualien is like the tide biting at the beach
leaving temporary marks.

Like music streaming through the sky
and disappearing soon after, we cannot tell
which part is Mahler’s, and which part
the plow song, which part is this life
of ours, and which the afterlife of others.

The sea we are familiar with is a giant package
which is packed with our dreams, with
music boxes scattered on the beach like shells
and repeatedly delivers itself at the same spot.

The mailer’s address is the receiver’s.
My body, stamped by mosquitoes,
is a package in a package, hidden in the car
box and awaiting the sea wind not far away
to blow it into the mailbox on the street corner.

English Translated by Chang Fen-ling

《夜歌》是一首為高音人聲跟鋼琴的聲樂曲,是男高音傅瑋宗委託我為他譜寫的一首聲樂曲。瑋宗是我在國立台灣師範大學的學弟,我們也曾在音契詩班一同服事過,瑋宗在2009年台北中文歌曲大賽中脫穎而出,因而委託我為他創作此曲提供他在2011年的得獎者演唱會中演出之用。

《夜歌》的歌詞是詩人陳黎以馬勒《第七號交響曲「夜之歌」》為靈感的來源,同時在詩中也提及了台灣民謠《牛犁歌》。因此在這個曲子中,我不只引用了這兩個曲子,而且試圖使用馬勒《第七號交響曲「夜之歌」》第二樂章的後半段作為全曲的結構來源。我使用了並置的作曲手法去處理引用的段落,同時我必須跟隨著馬勒與陳黎的音樂與詩詞結構,並且放置入我個人的音樂語言。這種整合的過程中創造了一些古怪而獨特的氛圍,令我覺得十分有趣。最後在此謝謝陳黎老師慷慨應允我使用他的詩譜曲。

《夜歌》陳黎

在街頭轉角的郵筒旁
我停下車,熄火,小睡一覺
前面是忽明忽滅的紅綠燈
我們熟悉的海在不遠的地方

我在街頭小睡,等我的女兒
習完琴從學院的琴房走出來
出門時我的錄影機正錄著
馬勒的《夜之歌》,漫長
辛勞的一日明天又將倒帶重來

幾隻蚊子飛進車內
暗中叮著一具疲憊的肉身:
花蓮的蚊子此際叮著這個
花蓮人,像潮水咬過沙灘
留下短暫的印記

像音樂流過天空
旋又消失,我們分不清
哪一段是馬勒,哪一段是
牛犁歌,哪一段是我們的
今生,哪一段是別人的來世

我們熟悉的海是巨大的包裹
包裹著我們的夢,包裹著
貝殼般散落沙灘的音樂盒子
反覆在原地將自己投遞出
寄件址就是收件址

被蚊子蓋了戳的我的肉體
是包裹裡的包裹,藏在汽車
盒子裡等候不遠處的海風
將它吹入街角的郵筒

– Feng-Hsu Lee (November 16, 2010 West Hartford, CT)

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