The Saga of an Assassin
(full score) for cello octet
Duration: approximately 9'00"
The full score for this cello octet piece in PDF will be emailed to you within 24 hours upon receiving the amount of payment shown on the right. The "buy now" button on the left will bring you to a secured website where you can pay with PayPal or a major credit card.

This purchase is for the full score only. The parts are sold separately for $50.
US$ 40.00


World premiered on December 12, 2014 at the Kaohsiung Music Hall, performed by Prof. Min-Yuan Lin's Hotshot Cello Choir.

Program Notes

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 Qin.

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.