Praised for his “sensitive and unpretentious musicality” by Pianist Magazine, and referred to as “a major talent” by The Classical Source, Ji Liu has positioned himself as one of the brightest stars in classical music. In addition to topping the classical charts as a Global Classic FM artist on numerous occasions, he also delights audiences around the world, from the Royal Albert Hall in London to Carnegie Hall in New York.
The Opera Moment No. 1, is inspired by the aria ‘From heaven fallen an angel’ from the notable Chinese Yue Opera ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ AKA ‘The Story of the Stone’ (this English name is translated by David Hawkes), which is inspired by the story of an eponymous Chinese novel, written by Cao Xueqin in Qing Dynasty. The playwright of Yue Opera Version ‘The Story of the Stone’ was written by Xu Jin. The music was composed by Gu Zhenxia and Gao Ming, the theatrical production was directed by Zhong Min and premiered by the Shanghai Yue Opera in 1958.
Ji Liu notes ‘Opera Moment No. 1 is gentle, refreshing and thoroughly engaging. I used the left-hand ostinato to keep the movement and inner excitement, and I managed to gradually introduce the theme of the aria by deconstructing it into short motives and anticipating them to build the tension, before finally reaching the aria’s theme, played by the left hand. As the theme comes in, the long uncertainty in the lightness of touch created by the left-hand ostinato is finally resolved, and it is the first time that the piece finds its harmonic home, enhancing its warmth and atmosphere. The piece finishes with its open ending, as it started – from nowhere, to nowhere: ‘What causes my two-fold anguish? Love for spring and resentment of spring; For suddenly it comes and suddenly goes, Its arrival unheralded; noiseless, it’s departing.’ — From ‘The Chant of Burying the Fallen Blossom, The Story of the Stone”‘