Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 18, 2011.

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The successful performance of Ge gan-ru's Wrong, Wrong, Wrong! led to the idea of commissioning a companion piece Hard, Hard, Hard!

In my first doctoral recital on Feb. 28, 2010, I performed Chinese American composer Ge Gan-ru's Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!, a melodrama for voice and toy ensemble written originally for Margaret Leng Tan. It was based on a poem written by the famous Chinese poet of Song dynasty, Lu You (1125-1210). In the spring of 1155, Lu You met in the Shen Garden his former wife Tang Wan whom he was deeply in love with and yet from whom he was forced to divorce by his tyrannical mother. Tang Wan offered him the golden-branded wine and he wrote the following poem spontaneously on a wall of the garden:

《 钗头凤》-- 陆游

红酥手,
黄藤酒,
满城春色宫墙柳。
东风恶,
欢情薄。
一杯愁绪,
几年离索。
错!错!错!

春如旧,
人空瘦,
泪痕红悒鲛绡透。
桃花落,
闲池阁。
山盟虽在,
锦书难托。
莫,莫,莫!

《Phoenix Hairpin》 -- Lu You, translated by Xu Yuanzhong

Pink hands so fine,
Gold-branded wine,
Spring paints green willows palace walls cannot confine.
East wind unfair,
Happy times rare.
In my heart sad thoughts throng,
We've severed for years long.
Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Spring is as green,
In vain she's lean,
Her silk scarf soak' with tears and red with stains unclean.
Peach blossoms fall,
Near desert'd hall.
Our oath is still there, lo!
No word to her can go.
No, no, no!

An interesting piece to pull off, it turned out to be many people's favorite that night. The success of the performance led to the idea of commissioning Ge to write a sequel to Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!, now based on the poem written by Lu You's beloved ex-wife, Tang Wan, after she had read Lu’s poem:

《 钗头凤》-- 唐婉

世情薄,
人情恶,
雨送黄昏花易落。
晓风干,
泪痕残。
欲笺心事,
独语斜栏。
难,难,难!

人成各,
今非昨,
病魂常似秋千索。
角声寒,
夜阑珊.
怕人询问,
咽泪装欢。
瞒,瞒,瞒!

Tang Wan's reply to Lu You's poem (translated by Xu Yuanzhong):

The world unfair,
True manhood rare
Dusk melts away in rain and blooming trees turn bare.
Morning wind high,
Tear traces dry.
I'll write to you what's in my heart,
Leaning on rails,
Speaking apart,
Hard, hard, hard!

Each goes his way,
Gone are our days.
Like ropes of a swing my soul groans always.
The horn blows cold,
Night has grown old.
Afraid my grief may be descried,
I try to hide my tears undried.
Hide, hide, hide

This companion piece, Hard, Hard, Hard! will use the same instrumentation as Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!, enabling future performers to play them as a set:

Toy piano
Toy harp/ table harp with plectrum (muted with glass)
Pearls
Wooden block (high)
Toy glockenspiel
3 Temple gongs/ cup gongs
Old fashioned water warbier
Toy accordion/ Paper accordion (endowed with 2 note compass)
Plastic flute
1 Pitched Plastic Hammer
Cricket boxes

This commissioned work will be featured in my next doctoral recital in Spring 2011. I am absolutely thrilled by the thought of working with an established composer like Ge Gan-ru. Regarded as “China's first avant-garde composer and one of the most original composers of his generation…” (New Grove Dictionary of Music), Ge has worked with famous artists such as Margaret Leng Tan and numerous renowned ensembles like the Kronos Quartet and Ying Quartet.

Ge was recently nominated as one of "Fifteen Most Inspiring People in Classical Music." (http://www.naxos.com/news). To read more about his biography, works, and recordings, go to http://www.geganru.com/

Pianist Genevieve Lee, a versatile performer and professor of Pomona College, having watched my performance on Wrong, Wrong, Wrong! and recently performed the work herself, has agreed to co-commission this new work. However, I will still be responsible for the remaining amount.

This commissioned work will not only further introduce Ge's inspiring music to the public, but it will also enhance my research into keyboard works using spoken text and works influenced by Chinese art form and musical materials. Like Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!, the sequel Hard, Hard, Hard! will give "voice" to Tang’s poem. Through sounds and song, nudges the audience to reminisce of this unforgettable 800 year-old Chinese romance with an absolutely refreshing touch.

“Truly exceptional performance! The sounds created images that were so real that they were almost vivid…it brought us right back to the olden days of China with wooden chairs, wooden table, wooden window and a lonely man singing about his lost love…

I’ve actually known of those poems since teenage years after I’ve picked up a book that wrote about Chinese poets and their life stories. I meant, this particular poem, it's meaningful only because it came with its pair. Tang wrote the poem after reading Lu’s poem, but I feel the romantic bit was she wrote a reply to it...it was such a sad story...I remember reading the wife's poem and my tears were instantaneous.”

-- Dr. Yinghui Chee, Cambridge, England

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    You can pick ONE of the following: 1) a one-hour piano lesson + a bookmark or a poster 2) an invitation to a home cooked Chinese/Malaysian meal + a bookmark or a poster 3) everything in the $35 award + an autographed DVD of the piece

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    Any TWO of the following: 1) a bookmark with Lu You’s and Tang Wang’s poem 2) a signed recital poster 3) an autographed DVD of the piece PLUS Any or all of the following that apply: 1) a one-hour piano lesson 2) an invitation to a home cooked Chinese/Malaysian meal 3) a one-hour session on any aspects of Chinese culture or the language eg. practicing Mandarin, learning a Chinese poem etc. Your name will also be acknowledged in the recital program

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    A bookmark with Lu You’s and Tang Wang’s poem, a signed recital poster, an autographed DVD of the piece PLUS Any or all of the following that apply: 1) two one-hour piano lessons 2) an invitation to a home cooked Chinese/Malaysian meal 3) two one-hour sessions on any aspects of Chinese culture or the language eg. practicing Mandarin, learning a Chinese poem etc. Your name will also be acknowledged in the recital program

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    I will write a piano piece or song for you based on a poem or theme of your choice! + Everything in the $200 award

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