On a journey through Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra’s “Divine Compassion,” I was treated to a sweeping symphony that encapsulated the profound journey through the universal saga of good versus evil, a narrative that echoes through the cosmos. Composed by the talented Junyi Tan and Yu Deng, and deftly orchestrated by conductor Milen Nachev, this piece uses a rich tapestry of sounds and themes to tell a story that touches every soul.
A Grand Universal Opening
From the beginning, the timpani thunders a grand opening, summoning the majesty of the universe. The harmonious interplay of strings and brass set a foundation for something monumental on the horizon. But then, a swift transition at [0:31] transports us to the swirling galaxies, guided by flutes, piccolos, and oboes. These instruments illustrate the graceful descent of divine beings, the architects of human civilization, and the shapers of history.
The evolving melody at [0:51] suggests God’s footsteps, creating pathways for humanity’s future journey. There’s a profound sense of anticipation, akin to the collective feelings of sentient beings waiting in suspense as if the divine is orchestrating the grand tapestry of existence. The various phases of history flash before us right up to the current moment, as depicted at [1:10], prompting introspective questions about our place in the grand universe. An expectancy fills the air, hinting at the onset of a significant event.
The Falun Dafa Message
Then, when we reach [1:10], the confident trumpets assert themselves, heralding a message of monumental importance. Their proclamation is magnified by the supportive melodies from the woodwinds and strings, which resonate with the spread of Falun Dafa – an ancient spiritual practice that emphasizes three central tenets: Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance.
This moment in the composition, also laden with introspection, invites listeners to take a step back and traverse the annals of time. The gentle, humming tune creates an ambiance of relaxation, yet it also stirs deep contemplation. It seems as though the music is beckoning its audience to embark on a journey within, prompting them to revisit every life stage, from childhood innocence to adulthood’s complexities. It ignites a quest for answers to life’s age-old questions about purpose and existence. One can’t help but wonder: amidst this vastness, amidst this cosmic dance, what does this hope and anticipation truly mean?
Modern Chaos and Decline
By [1:36], the music takes a dark turn. The lower brass bellow octaves create a dramatic effect. At the same time, the strings tremolo intensify the feelings of discomfort. Together, these instruments build a poignant reflection of our contemporary society.
The trombones, with their intense rhythms, sketch a landscape steeped in mystery and melancholy. Their notes tell a story of a confused society and losing its moral compass. It feels like we’re being warned about how people are forgetting their values.
The music captures the chaos we see around us – people acting without thinking; everyone upset about something, and a general sense of sadness. Picture dark clouds covering a city, making everything feel cold and gloomy.
The orchestra brilliantly portrays this narrative, evoking visions of sinister processions moving through the streets. These images, suggestive of the forces of evil, march with a hypnotic allure, seducing souls and pulling them into a pit of moral decay.
Hope in the Midst of Darkness
Yet, amid darkness, there’s always a glimmer of light. [2:23] The bassoons introduce a fresh theme, akin to the first ray of sunlight piercing an overcast sky. Soon after, at [2:26], the oboe joins in, picking up the tale and singing the story of Falun Dafa’s growing influence.
The gentle trill of the flute evokes the image of whispers spreading throughout a town square. Each note carries tales of the benefits of Falun Dafa, moving from one eager listener to another. Like a conductor brings each instrument to life, the flute’s whispers awaken hearts, initiating a ripple effect of newly inspired followers. The dialogue between the oboes and flutes lyrically depicts the spread of virtuous teachings—carrying the essence of goodness and disseminating it far and wide.
As we approach [2:56], a captivating exchange emerges between the brass and strings. The brass sets a lesson, and the strings echo it back with fervor. This musical dialogue mirrors seasoned practitioners guide newcomers. Together, they unite their efforts, akin to an orchestra achieving perfect harmony.
Come [3:28], the ethereal harp gently elevates the listener, soaring above the clouds. Each note seems to cleanse the soul, washing away worldly burdens.
By [3:47], the narrative continues, with the flute beginning a soft conversation, soon joined by the clarinet in harmonious concord. The strings then embrace the tune, expressing the deep peace Falun Dafa instills in its practitioners. This segment paints an ideal realm, a world that many desire. Within the Falun Gong community, this dream world comes alive – a place defined by mutual respect, kindness, and genuine warmth.
The Brutal Suppression
At [6:01], the piece strikingly evokes the year 1999 when the Chinese Communist Party began its brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. This ruthless campaign has tragically persisted for over two decades and continues to this day.
The somber and haunting strains of violins around this mark set the mood, foreshadowing impending turmoil.
By [6:07], the strong sounds of brass instruments come in, making everything feel even more intense like something big and scary is about to happen. Then, at [6:18], the music marks a turning point, where threats become a harsh reality. These heavy and serious tones echo the very real suffering of Falun Gong practitioners in China during a time when their rights were ignored. Their pain, resulting from horrific crimes like arrests, torture, and unjustifiable deaths, resonates deeply.
As the music swells in intensity, it feels as though the very ground might crack under the weight of these crimes, with the stormy sky adding to the bleakness. With their interwoven melodies, the instruments form a deadlock of suppression, making the listener feel trapped in the dark with no way out.
Triumph of Good Over Evil
But at the end of the tunnel, there is light. As the dark theme reaches its crescendo at [6:39], the resonant sound of the gong breaks through, piercing the darkness like the first rays of dawn. The deep toll of the gong heralds a transformation. Its rich vibrations cleanse the air, pushing away the previously oppressive cloud.
With this shift, the entire orchestra follows suit. They’ve unveiled a new narrative that underscores the unyielding spirit of goodness radiating from the hearts of Falun Gong practitioners. This melody, pure and serene yet filled with inherent strength, rises in waves, overcoming and overshadowing the earlier themes of persecution.
Despite the propaganda and deceit the CCP flooded the world with, Falun Dafa practitioners remain steadfast. Every note conveys their resilience since that fateful day in July 1999. They’ve tirelessly sought to clarify their truth to the world. The music embodies their faith and the guardian angels that shield and uphold the righteous. This symphonic transformation does not merely depict events but stands as an uplifting testament. It’s a lesson, a beacon of hope, a narrative that engrosses listeners, prompting them to draw parallels, seek inspiration, and perhaps find direction.
As we approach [7:05], the musical narrative becomes even more apparent. The triumphant forces of good are echoed with a gentle, soothing melody. It envisions a world restored to peace and harmony. The sacrifices, the kindness, and the unparalleled achievements of the Falun Gong practitioners create ripples, resonating and leaving a lasting impression.
[7:57] The orchestra edges towards its climax and marks a heroic ending for the piece. By [8:00], the timpani re-emerges, echoing the grand introduction. Soon, the familiar tones of trumpets imbue the air with magnificence. It parallels the opening, where flutes, oboes, and piccolos illustrate celestial beings gracing the Earth. Now, they suggest their triumphant return or maybe the miracles happening in the contemporary day. The brass layers in respect and pride, climaxing in a grand orchestral push. This crescendo doesn’t merely conclude the piece; it makes a profound statement – emphasizing the divine compassion that will always triumph over evil, heralding a bright, prosperous new era awaiting humanity.
By walking us through these vivid sonic landscapes, Shen Yun does more than tell a story; they hold up a mirror, allowing listeners to reflect upon their own lives, values, and the decisions they’ve made. The music acts as a catalyst, igniting introspection and, for many, an inner transformation. Every crescendo, every pause, and every gentle note feels intimately personal, like a whisper directed at the very soul. Shen Yun’s artistry allows listeners to not only enjoy the composition’s beauty but to derive meaning and purpose from it. It serves as a reminder that our choices shape our lives, and the virtue inherent in those decisions truly determines our destiny.
For those eager to immerse themselves in the world of Shen Yun, their compositions, including this gem, can be streamed online via Shen Yun Creations (Shen Yun Zuo Pin).
This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)