List of Works

Hsiang Fei, Op. 40

Instrumentation: orchestra, no woodwinds (see below)

Composed: 1965

Performance Time: 15 min.

Score available from: Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music at Free Library of Philadelphia.

Program Note:
HSIANG FEI is a programmatic symphonic work whose four sections tell a dramatic Oriental tale:
  1. CH'IEN LUNG, Emperor of China, commands his generals to the Throne Room. He says, "Hsiang Fei is known for her magical beauty and the softness of her white skin. She is the Princess of Kashgaria, wife of a nobleman from Turkestan. Bring her to me -- by force, if you must. She shall become my favorite concubine."
  2. HSIANG FEI is a captive in the pavilion, Thoughts of Home. The Emperor built it that she might enchant him. But Hsiang Fei will not tolerate even his approach. Then the Emperor erects a tower so she can look toward her lost home, yet never escape him. But to him she says, "If you touch me with so much as a palm to my hand I will kill you and myself."
  3. TZU HSI, the Empress Dowager, in anger bids her son, "Send back the beautiful and invincible Hsiang Fei." But the Emperor will not listen. Then does Tzu Hsi summon Hsiang Fei before her. She says, "You will yield to the Emperor or take your life."
  4. The EMPEROR, fasting in the Hall of Abstinence, receives the news in secret from a faithful eunuch. He forgets his duty and hastens to Hsiang Fei. In the tower of the pavilion, Thoughts of Home, his favorite hangs by a silken rope. Hsiang Fei has escaped him forever.
The scoring is unusual. It calls for brass, harp, timpani and percussion, and strings, but there are no woodwinds.

4 Horns in F
2 Trumpets in C
2 Trumpets in Bb
2 Tenor Trombones
Bass Trombone
Chromatic Timpani
Percussion (3 players)
Bass drum, Tenor drum, 16" Muffled Tom Tom*, Timbales, Triangle, Suspended Cymbal, Striking Cymbals, Tam Tam
* If unavailable, use 16" Muffled Tenor drum without snares.


This page maintained by The Schubert Club. Contact the webmaster for more information.