Waiting, again, for Lady Yang
clarinet in Bb
In 2003 I composed a work for solo cello, Thinking of Lady Yang at Midnight, inspired by a wonderfully evocative 900-year-old Korean poem of the same name. The expressive depth and subtle language of that ancient poem reverberated within me long after the cello piece was finished, prompting this attempt to create another musical metaphor of "one who was too beautiful."
Waiting, again, for Lady Yang takes us one step beyond the actual narrative of the poem, imagining an assignation between our solitary narrator and the elusive Lady Yang. Here we find touches of impatience and irritation intruding into the lovers' dialogue. Finally, however, they disappear together into the midnight shadows.
Thinking of Lady Yang at Midnight
Watching alone by the ancient city wall,
Thinking of one who was too beautiful,
What did I see? What did I hear?
Moonlight, quivering over empty courtyards,
A voice calling out of the midnight shadows.
One name, her name, echoes across the silence.
Light feet, her feet, in shoes of peacock feathers,
Dance through the empty halls. Will they never rest?
Thinking of joys that ended and sorrows which never end
I find my white robe spangled with tears for her.
Korean, Anonymous (c. 1100 - 1150)