DYNASTY:

THE BUTTERFLY LOVERS (2005)

20 minutes

12 minutes [Abriged Version]

Orchestra: 3(3.picc)222/4331/timp+perc[5]/hp/pno/str

 

Commissioned by the Hawaii Youth Symphony

 

First Performance: February 26, 2006; Hawaii Youth Symphony,

conducted by Henry Miyamura

 

PROGRAM NOTE

In the summer of 2002, I first came across the story of the Butterfly Lovers in an adaption of the original Chinese folktale “The Legend of Liang Shan Bo and Chu Ying Tai” in a book of the same name by Chinese writer Fan Dai. The Legend of the Butterfly Lovers is said to be finest of Chinese folktale and is considered to be the story of the Chinese Romeo and Juliet.

 

The legend is a love story of a beautiful young women named Chu Ying Tai who disguises her self as boy to attend a prominent provincial school. On her way, she meets a handsome young man named Liang Shan Bo who is also on his way to school. The two become very good friends and through time Chu Ying Tai falls for Liang Shan Bo. A full three years pass and still Shan Bo has no idea that his friends is a girl with a crush even though Ying Tai has given signs of her feelings. Receiving an urgent letter from her father, Ying Tai returns home to find that a marriage has been arranged between her and a local rich boy. Back at school, a teacher informs Shan Bo that his best friend was in fact a girl who was in love with him. Feeling foolish for not seeing the many signs through the years, Shan Bo rushes back to Ying Tai, but it’s too late. After much conflict and efforts to stop the marriage, Shan Bo dies of sadness. On the wedding day, a thunderous roar from the sky rocks the earth and a gigantic lighting bolt hits Shan Bo’s tomb opening a deep cavity in the ground.  Seeing away to finally be together with her love, Ying Tai runs for the grave. Chased by her father and mother she jumps into the grave killing herself. The hole in the grave collapses as the heavens continue to roar. The roaring thunder suddenly silences and two butterflies appear above the flower garden, ascending to the sky.    

 

DYNASTY: THE BUTTERFLY LOVERS is very much a symphonic impression of the story with no direct linear storytelling. There is a passionate and romantic theme that weaves through the piece undergoing changes through time. Sweeping and lyrical lines transform into barbaric war music, with the melody ebbing with the changes of time. I have strived to capture the story of a forbidden love through changing ages, epochs and dynasties. 

 

PERFORMANCE HISTORY

April 15, 2007: Hawaii Youth Symphony, conducted by Henry Miyamura

April 13, 2007: Hawaii Youth Symphony, conducted by Henry Miyamura

February 19, 2007: Hawaii Youth Symphony, conducted by Henry Miyamura

April 10, 2006: University of Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Henry Miyamura

May 7, 2006: Hawaii Youth Symphony, conducted by Henry Miyamura

April 9, 2006: Hawaii Youth Symphony, conducted by Henry Miyamura

February 26, 2006: Hawaii Youth Symphony, conducted by Henry Miyamura

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