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For Purchase

Available Recording

Shanghai Overture available to listen

to order or download at Amazon or iTunes

The Most Recent performance of Shanghai Overture in September 2013, Bright Sheng had his Hong Kong premiere of this work conducted by Jaap van Zweden and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Shang Hai Overture (2007) 上海序曲

for Orchestra (10 minites) 为管弦乐队而作


to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music 献给上海音乐学院

Program Note

Shanghai Overture is a commission from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in celebration of its eightieth anniversary. It is premiered on November 27, 2007, by the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, conducted by Muhai Tang. It is orchestrated for two piccolos, flute, two oboes, English horn, clarinet in Eb, two clarinets in Bb, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four French horns in F, two trumpets in C, trumpet in C and Bb, two tenor trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, four percussionists playing: Peking Opera cymbals (京中钗), small Peking Opera cymbals (京小钗), Peking Opera gong (京大锣), small Peking Opera gong (京小锣), small Chinese tom-tom (小堂鼓) or large bango, two temple-blocks-high and low (大小木鱼), wind-gong (风锣), ratchet (滚轮器), triangle (三角铁), glockenspiel (钢片琴), crotales with a bass bow (黄铜定音铃, 用低音提琴弓子演奏), large bass drum (低音大鼓), low tam-tam (低音大锣), harp, and strings.

In Western music, the term neo-Classicism primarily refers to a movement in music composition prevalent in the 1920s and 1930s. While the main aesthetics of the style emphasizes on textural clarity, light orchestration and formal balance, some of the compositions were directly linked to specific composers from earlier periods. The most well-known composer of the movement was Igor Stravinsky who wrote a number of works including a neo-Bachian piano concerto, a neo-Pergolesian suite (Pulcinella), and a neo-Mozartian opera (The Rake’s Progress).

I always wondered what the result would be if I would adopt a similar concept and some of the techniques of the neo-Classical style and apply them to traditional Chinese classical or folk music. Although my approach is somewhat different from Stravinsky, I took the opportunity to explore the idea when I was asked to write a short composition for The Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Shanghai Overture is inspired by two well-known traditional Chinese compositions, General’s Degree (将军令) and Purple Bamboo (紫竹调). Whereas both came from the same region near Shanghai, they differ vastly in character and color, one is grand and powerful while the other is light and elegant.

This work is dedicated to The Shanghai Conservatory of music, my Alma Mater, where I received a firm foundation in basic music training.

—Bright Sheng


作品介绍: 《上海序曲》是为上海音乐学院80周年校庆所作的委约作品。将由汤沐海指hui上海音乐学院青年交响乐团于2007年11月27日首演,本作品的编制为两只短笛,长笛,两只双簧管,英国管,降E调单簧管,两只降B调单簧管,两只大管,低音大管,四只F调圆号,两只C调小号,C调与降B调小号,两只高音长号,低音长号,大号,定音鼓,四位打击乐演奏员演奏:京中钗,京小钗,京大锣,京小锣,小堂鼓,大小木鱼,风锣,滚轮器,三角铁,钢片琴,黄铜定音铃(用低音提琴弓演奏),低音大鼓,低音大锣;竖琴以及弦乐。



《上海序曲》的创作灵感来自于两首著名的中国作品:《将军令》 和《紫竹调》。尽管这两首作品都来自于邻近上海的地区,在风格和色彩方面却有很大区别,一首富于雄威,另一首则清新典雅。