World premiered on December 12, 2014 at
the Kaohsiung Music Hall, performed by Prof. Min-Yuan
Lin's Hotshot Cello Choir.
The motivation of this
cello octet came from an historical event during the
Warring States period of China when the country was
fragmented by seven warlords. King Qin ambitiously
attempted to conquer the other six kingdoms. The
neighboring Kingdom Yan was tormented by frequent
attacks from Qin. A plot against King Qin was
developed and carried out by an assassin, Jing Ke. The
music consists of three movements: Movement I.
Plotting Against the Tyrant; Movement II. Farewell on
River Yi; and Movement III. The Failed Attempt on King
Movement I. Plotting
Against the Tyrant íV To begin, a suspenseful and
conspiratorial atmosphere is created by using unstable
chords. Then, enter the theme, utilizing an
improvisational style of the minimalism. Syncopated
phrases evolve uninterruptedly to represent the firm
determination of the fateful assassination. The
repetitive melody resonates and presages the inception
of the action.
Movement II. Farewell on
River Yi íV Prince Dan and friends from Kingdom Yan
gathered by River Yi to bit farewell, as Jing Ke sang
the famous poet: "The wind howls over the Yi water
chill. The warrior sets sail with a no-return will."
Everyone was moved and heartbroken by the solemn song.
The music slowly develops with major ninth chords and
a persistent triplet rhythm, metaphorizing an anxious
and melancholic mood; Melodies with major seventh
intervals further express a depressed and tangled
mindset. This movement is a ballad in binary form.
Movement III. The Failed
Attempt on King Qin íV The music depicts the tortuous,
ill-fated mission of Jing Ke. This movement echos the
first movement, extending the continuous progression
of irregular beats and syncopations. A dagger appeared
when a painting was unscrolled to the end. As Jing Ke
took the dagger, King Qin drew his sword and broke the
dagger. Eventually Jing Ke failed the attempt and died
from his wounds. The fencing duel between Jing Ke and
King Qin is represented in the music with pizzicatos
and staccatos on the cellos. In the end, as Jin Ke
yielded under King Qin's sword, the music concludes
with forceful and sustaining chords.