Night of Sevens

Program Note

The Night of Sevens (Qi Xi) is a Chinese holiday that falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month on the Chinese calendar. This holiday celebrates two lovers, one mortal and one a goddess. Though normally separated by the cosmic expanse of the Milky Way (the Silvery River of Heaven in Chinese), on the seventh day of the seventh month, the magpies take pity on the couple and form a bridge, allowing the mortal to cross into heaven. Inspired by this myth, Night of Sevens sonically represents the journey from one state of consciousness to another. Ascending, strings represent the Silvery River while the mortal is represented by the piano and the goddess by percussion. These two lovers, aided by the magpies (winds) finally meet in heaven. There, all voices merge towards one upward gesture and we are left with a short, ringing motive emerging from a high wash of sound–a degraded echo of an earthly voice transmitted from one world to the next.

Performance History

Rel√Ęche ensemble, Old Cabell Hall, Charlottesville, VA, 1/27/2009

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