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The poem is by Li Yu (李煜) [937- 978], who is a well-known Chinese poet. He was the last emperor of the Southern Tang dynasty, deposed in 975. His works focus on the memory of lost pleasures.
I believe baritone and orchestra are the best medium to convey the emotion and color of this poem. My personal interpretation not only reflects the dark life after he was deposed, but also shows visions of the wonderful events that took place when he was in his homeland. My piece is an interweaving of these mixed emotions, and a sense of confusion of timeline as Li Yu ponders his past memories and his pitiful reality.
Commissioned by Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and New Zealand Opera
text "Midnight Song" by Li Yu [937-978]