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Julian Yu: 3 Symphonic Poems

  • for orchestra
  • 4 2 4 3 - 4 2 3 1 - perc(4), hp, pno/cel, str
  • Duration: 21’
  • Instrumentation details:
    4(1 & 2 = picc)·2·4·3(3 = contra) - 4·2·3·1 - 4 perc - pf/cel - hp - strings
  • Composer: Julian Yu

Work introduction

The three works which together comprise Three Symphonic Poems were written at different times during a three-year period from 1991 to 1994. They were not commissioned, but written purely for my own enjoyment.

Recently I have been increasingly interested in the use of quotations and hints as an integral process in composition. Brilliant examples of this can be found in the music of Berg, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Webern, Crumb, Berio and others. For me, this process can be applied not only to melody and harmony, but also to musical structure, resulting in total structural quotation - which incidentally is what happens during ornamentation in Chinese instrumental folk music. Structural quotation is a lot of fun to explore in contemporary composition.

Three Symphonic Poems uses both structural and melodic/harmonic quotation. The titles Oasis, Confluence and Undulation were added after completion of the piece. Although they appear to be linked with nature, they do not describe the music but hint merely at its inner structure. For example, in Confluence, two streams of harmonic progression merge into one, while Undulation has a wave-like, contrapuntal structure, full of dynamism and contrast.

Julian Yu


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