Visions of Xi Hu is a suite of three movements that was inspired by reading about the various sites around the famed lake XI Hu in Hangzhou, China, a site Ive been honored to visit. These locations have beautifully poetic names that highlight the characteristics of the surrounding environment. Each name inspired one of the three movements of original melodies.
- Three Pools Mirroring the Moon is based on the five-tone pentatonic mode heard in much of Oriental music. It suggests staring into the calm water during a moonlit night and feeling a sense of bliss from viewing the lovely reflections.
- Island of Little Oceans is also based on the pentatonic mode. Its a simple melody stated by four different combinations of instruments. The mood suggests being on the island and being aware of all tension leaving ones body from being surrounded by the peaceful waters.
- Two Peaks Embracing the Sky is a dramatic and forceful work, very percussive a nd loud. It opens with the brass stating a series of six major chords (the first peak), each progressively a fifth higher than the previous one. (For example: C-G-D-A-E in the Western system of tonality.) The woodwinds then play six minor chords (the second peak) based on the same pitches. This give-and-take between the sections of the band builds up to a climax of intense power. -- Visions of Xi Hu is dedicated to Jianyun Meng.