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beyond the gate of supreme harmony

for solo piano / 2013

Beyond the Gate of Supreme Harmony is both my dedication to the Forbidden City of China and a personal account of my visit to it in summer 2013. The Gate of Supreme Harmony is the second major gate encountered when entering the Forbidden City. Beyond this gate is the Hall of Supreme Harmony- China’s grandest temple architecture in scale and extravagance. Upon seeing the incredible scene of the Hall of Supreme Harmony at the end of the grand open square through the gate, the Andante molto maestoso theme immediately sounded in my head, which was later written down without a single change during the composition of this piece. The music follows my path of approaching “China’s first hall”: the mysterious Meridian Gate with repressive hall walls, walking through the Gate of Supreme Harmony with rising excitement and curiosity, upon seeing the magnificent hall and square, and approaching the hall with overwhelming emotions. The piece culminates in the sections of walking up to the hall on stone steps sculpted with dragons, depicted by embellished counter melodies in the left hand, and finally facing the exquisite and brightly coloured ornamentation of the hall and its densely patterned dou-gong supporting the roof, represented by a crisp and refreshing ostinato in the high registers. On my last glance of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, I could not help but ponder how many stories and secrets- some passed on as legends while some forever lost in the black hole of history- had the hall witnessed in five centuries of silence at the rises and falls of the last Chinese empires


Ivan Yeung, piano

Recorded live at Walter Hall, University of Toronto, 26 November, 2013

Copyright © Zi-Xiao He 2013

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