45th Orchestral Season

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From the Peng Xiuwen Collection Chinese Rhapsody (Cancelled)

Date and Time
9/10/2021 (Sat) 8:00 pm
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall
Ticket Fee
$350, $280, $220, $170
Yan Huichang
Performed by
Guanzi:Qin Jitao

The Hong Kong Cultural Centre is temporarily closed as Storm Signal No. 8 is in force. ‘From the Peng Xiuwen Collection Chinese Rhapsody’ Concert, originally scheduled to be held on 9 October 2021 at Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall has been cancelled. We apologize for the inconvenience caused. 

Ticket(s) holders can choose the following arrangement, complete and return the form to the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra on or before 9 November 2021:

A. Apply for a full refund (of the face value of the ticket, by cheque or cash) ; or

B. Donate to the ‘Music for Love’ Scheme

Download refund/donation form

Thank you again for your support!

Inquiries: 3185 1600 / inquiries@hkco.org

HKCO Office: 7/F, Sheung Wan Municipal Services Building, 345 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong (Marketing and Development Department)

Working hours: Monday to Friday (9:00am-1:30pm / 2:30pm-6:00pm)

With hundreds of works ranging from original compositions to arrangements to his name, Peng Xiuwen is one of the trailblazers of modern Chinese orchestral music. His oeuvre is varied in types and styles, and many are considered classics of our time. To tie in with the publication of Collection of Works of Peng Xiuwen, which is a monumental feat of ten volumes, by the Chinese publishing group Modern Press Co. Ltd., the HKCO has planned to present a concert specially dedicated to the Maestro every season. This year will be the kick-off of this annual tribute, and music fans can regard it as a portal to the wondrous soundscapes the Maestro created.

Shifan Luogu   Song of the General   Traditional wind and percussion piece of southern Jiangsu Province

Arr. by Peng Xiuwen         

Beautiful Clouds Chasing the Moon   Ren Guang   Arr. by Peng Xiuwen                   

Days of Emancipation   Zhu Jian’er   Arr. by Peng Xiuwen                


Fallen Flowers Carried Away by the Flowing Water   Cantonese music   Arr. by Peng Xiuwen


Octet for Chinese Folk Music   The Moon over Guanshan   Qin tune   Arr. by Peng Xiuwen 

Purple Bamboo Tune   Folk music of Jiangsu   Arr. by Peng Xiuwen 


As the Moon Rises   Ancient tune   Arr. by Peng Xiuwen             

The Return of Spring (aka The Spring of the Hezhe People)    Peng Xiuwen      

Guan and Orchestra   Torrents of the River   Winds and drums of southern Liaoning    

Arr. by Peng Xiuwen   Guanzi: Qin Jitao

Late Autumn on Yanshan   Peng Xiuwen            

Chinese Rhapsody   Xian Xinghai   Arr. by Peng Xiuwen

Music Views & Previews

Anthology of Works by Peng Xiuwen and Research in Contemporary Chinese Instrumental Music

Christopher Pak

Music was gradually embraced as an independent and autonomous art form in nineteenth-century Europe. This changing perception met with a growing academic interest in humanities, which had encouraged scholars to adopt scientific methodology based on empirical and objective evidence to study the creative process and history of music and composers. Eventually led to the emergence of musicology as an independent scholarly discipline.

Early musicological research borrowed its research methods from the disciplines of palaeography and philology, contributing to the development of a sophisticated research paradigm. Most important research works during this period included biographical study of major composers and chronology of their works, as well as comparative study of manuscripts and printing editions. The foundation of these researches was built on a strong belief to view authentic scores as scientific and empirical evidence to investigate the creative process of composers. Today collections of empirical source materials for most prominent composers in Western classical music have reached a mature stage. Complete editions of works by composers like Johann Sebastian Bach have been revised and facsimiles of their manuscripts are also published. Latest researches often lead to revision of the chronology of works by these composers. Primary source materials are also preserved in well-established archive system. 

Comparatively speaking, musicological study of modern Chinese music and composers is still in its initial stage, particularly for research in music for Chinese orchestra. In recent years, music scores of major works for modern Chinese orchestras by Gu Guanren, Kuan Nai-chung, as well as other contemporary composers have been published. However, much work is still needed before high quality complete edition can be published.

The release of the ten volumes Collection of Works by Peng Xiuwen in 2020 marks for the first time that publication of works by major composer of music for Chinese orchestras has moved a step closer to the standard of modern scholarship. Arranged in chronological order, the Collection includes a sizable collection of works composed and arranged by Peng Xiuwen. According to the List of Works by Peng Xiuwen included in the final volume, Peng had composed and arranged more than four hundred works for modern Chinese orchestra. However, manuscripts or scores of many pieces had been lost and just over a hundred works can be included in the Collection.

As one the pioneers of music for modern Chinese orchestra, thorough study of Peng Xiuwen’s works dating back to the 1950s not only gives us a better perception about the artistic values of these works, it also serves as a roadmap to understand the factors and processes leading to the emergence of the modern Chinese orchestra. Although it is generally agreed that the rise of the modern Chinese orchestra is influenced by its Western counterpart, there is actually no prescribed answer in the instrumentation and compositional methods for this type of ensemble. One can argue that the whole twentieth-century is a period of experiment for the modern Chinese orchestra. For composers like Peng, creating music for the modern Chinese orchestra is always a process of exploration and adjustment. 

The Collection is important because it also includes works that are less frequent to be performed today. Pang’s outputs include sizable arrangements of music from various sources, which are important for the study of Peng’s instrumentation and orchestration techniques. The Collection also includes different editions of several important pieces by Peng, including Drums in Celebration of a Bumper Harvest and As the Moon Rises, which are valuable sources for us to understand the creative process of the composer.

The Collection is, nevertheless, printed materials. Live performances of Peng’s works are still crucial for an in-depth understanding of his music. Under the baton of Yan Huichang, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra is planning to present selections of representative works by Peng Xiuwen from different periods starting with its current subscription season. This project will enable general audience to experience a better understanding of Peng’s music. In addition, it also provides valuable audio materials for researchers. For instance, the featured concert of Peng’s music in the 2021 45th subscription season of the HKCO includes eleven works by Peng, ranging from early works like the octet The Moon over Guanshan from 1957, as well as works from his latter period like the 1996 second arrangement of Beautiful Clouds Chasing the Moon. In particular, the octet The Moon over Guanshan and arrangement of the folk tune Purple Bamboo Tune will be performed by a small ensemble without the conductor. From the perspective of historical enquiry, performance of early works with a smaller ensemble can allow us to understand Peng’s compositional process from multiple angels, which is itself a valid question in the study of performance practice.

In addition to publication of collected works and concert performances, comparing and discussing various editions of manuscripts and printed scores with available recordings from different periods are much needed researches to be accomplished in the future. These studies will eventually enrich our understanding of the music for modern Chinese orchestra.