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¡§Not a bird in a thousand hills. Not a
soul on ten thousand trails. An old man on a raft in
straw quilts ¡V Fishes alone with snowy chills.¡¨ This
poem ¡V written by a Tang Dynasty poet Liu Zong-Yuan
(773-819 AD, China) ¡V was the inspiration of this piece.
The poet evinced a mood of depression, loneliness and
perseverance by depicting a scene of a fisherman,
against all odds, fishing alone on a river covered all
over by snow. The music begins with the left hand
playing prolonged notes to describe the calm but
steadily flowing river. The right hand plays scattered
short notes to represent flying snowflakes. The piece
takes a free improvisational form to describe the
nature's unpredictable changes. Two Lento sections and
two Allegro sections interleave, with an Lento coda to
end. The Lento sections proceed steadily and fluidically
to build up layers with different musical textures,
expressing the vast expanse of the snow covered river.
The Allegro sections drive the musical pulsation and
elicit imagination with dissonant counterpoints,
expressing in an abstract way the snowflakes engulfing
the entire landscape. The Coda returns to simplistic
resonances to express the loneliness and stubbornness of
the old fisherman.
Snow on the River (Liu Zong-Yuan, 773-819 AD, Tang
Not a bird in a thousand hills.
Not a soul on ten thousand trails.
An old man on a raft in straw quilts
Fishes alone with snowy chills.