Peony Dreams《牡丹驚夢》– Lan Tung (2011)

- vocal/solo improviser & chamber orchestra or intercultural orchestra or Chinese orchestra, Commissioned by the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra and premiered at the National Concert Hall in Taiwan on Dec 23, 2011.

This piece is inspired by the classic story of “Peony Pavilion”, a famous Kun Qu – traditional opera) written by the great Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu (1550- 1616 AD). Lan incorporates graphic notation and improvisation in Peony Dreams, re-telling the classic story with original contemporary sounds. The main character’s emotions shifted quickly from fear, anxiety, to excitement as he unearthed his ghostly bride and opened the coffin.

Peony Dreams is about the moment when Liu Meng-mei (柳夢梅) found his lover Du Li-niang (杜麗娘)’s grave in the abandoned garden. Such a dark night! The moon has hidden her face. The tree branches above him wiggled in the winds. Blossoms faded, petals fallen, he could feel that many lonely spirits roaming free around him. As he started to dig, he was overwhelmed by different emotions: fears, anxiety, and excitement. At one hand, he was afraid of the ghostly atmosphere that surrounded him. He was anxious to see Du, whose ghost has enchanted him. But in what form would she appear to him? Will her instruction of resurrection work, and therefore they would live happily ever after? Or would he be doomed by this action, and he himself joins the underworld? These emotions accumulated as he unearthed her and opened the coffin.


《牡丹驚夢》描述 的是湯顯祖著名崑曲《牡丹亭》中的【回生】一幕。序曲部分的靈感來 自原崑曲唱詞「三年此生,三年此埋,情根一點,是無生債」。雖取自傳統 素材,卻以現代音樂手法呈現。樂隊時而依譜演奏,時而隨譜上記號或提示即興發揮,二胡獨奏部分則完全是與樂隊即興的對話。不同於崑曲著重於杜麗娘還魂後的 喜悅,此曲主要探究柳夢梅掘墳時內心的掙扎:焦慮、驚惶、興奮、期待。彷彿是將這一瞬間凍結並放大,來檢視柳夢梅情緒上細微的轉變。

Listen to the performance by the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, 2013