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Shen Yun composition Review

“Following the Creator to Renew All Things” – A Symphony of Human Civilization’s Divine Origin

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Written by Cheetahara
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Following the Creator to Renew All Things
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“Following the Creator to Renew All Things,” composed by Jing Xian, is an orchestral piece that takes listeners on a journey through the creation of Chinese civilization as envisioned in ancient beliefs. Through its intricate melodies, the orchestra paints a vivid picture of celestial beings descending to the Middle Kingdom and bestowing their divine gifts upon the Earth.

The Opening Statement and Dreamy Journey Through Ancient Memories

The composition unfolds with a statement that captures the essence of the entire piece. After that, at ((0:20)), a glissando on the harp creates a dreamy, mythical ambiance that evokes distant memories of an ancient day in the heavens. This sound, resembling the veil of time and space being lifted, sets the stage for a celestial journey.

Accompanying this is the gentle progression of woodwinds, led by the flute. Their gradual ascend in pitch resembles the metaphorical stairs that lift us toward the heavens. Parallel to that, the harp’s continuation with its glissando acts like a miraculous bridge between reality and fantasy, while its pentatonic scale imbues the piece with an Oriental essence, deepening the connection to ancient Chinese culture. It’s as though the harp is not just a musical instrument but a time machine, enabling us to become characters in the old stories of this ancient and mystical culture.

In the second repetition of the harmonic sequence, the woodwinds, growing in intensity and volume, create a vivid and almost tangible image of the gates of heaven opening before us. This part of the composition is where the listener is no longer a mere observer but a participant in this odyssey.

Divine World’s Splendor and Glory

At ((0:50)), the orchestra delves into the statement, portraying the intricate and resplendent details of a celestial world. The listeners are drawn into an immersive experience, feeling the magnitude of what it means to be amidst such a majestic and ethereal setting.

At ((1:17)), the orchestra introduces the graceful appearance of goddesses through the smooth and graceful melody of the erhus, delicately combined with the clarinet, flutes, pipas, and the pizzicato playing technique on the strings.

This femininity is then gracefully interwoven with the masculine presence in the parade, depicted through the robust melodies of brass and strings. This section beautifully illustrates how divine beings, both male and female, intertwine with each other, enhancing the splendor of the heavens.

Eventually, these elements blend into the central theme at ((1:45)), portraying a sublime and majestic realm where the Creator appears impressively, expressed by the unison of the entire orchestra. The re-emergence of this theme is an embodiment of the Creator’s role in the cosmos. He crafted countless levels in the universe and now covers the beautiful expanse of the heavens with his presence.

At ((2:13)), the piece transitions into a new phase, reflecting the Creator’s compassion and benevolence. In this segment, the Creator calls upon the heavenly beings to descend with him to Earth, specifically to the Middle Kingdom or China. This call is conveyed through a melody that is pure and gentle, yet imbued with great energy and power, embodies the weight of the great responsibilities and missions that await the gods upon their descent.

The term “Middle Kingdom” reflects an ancient worldview where China was seen as the cultural, political, and spiritual center of the world. This central position, both geographical and metaphysical, underscored China’s role as a beacon of harmony and enlightenment. The emperor, revered as the “Son of Heaven,” was believed to have a divine mandate to uphold these ideals. His authority to rule was seen as granted by Heaven itself, based on his virtue and his ability to maintain harmony and order within the realm.

This mandate from Heaven was conditional; it required the emperor to rule justly and wisely, ensuring the welfare of his people. This concept reinforced the idea of the Middle Kingdom as not just geographically central but morally and a bridge between the divine and the mundane. The emperor’s role was central to maintaining the balance and harmony between the Heaven and the Earth.

In the context of “Following the Creator to Renew All Things,” the Middle Kingdom becomes the chosen ground for divine incarnation, aimed at guiding humanity. This portrayal aligns with the traditional Chinese belief in the divine origins of their culture and civilization, highlighting the role of higher beings in shaping the fabric of the Middle Kingdom.

The Descent to Earth

Those familiar with Shen Yun’s repertoire will recognize the familiar melody and feeling in the segment at ((2:27)). The mostly descending trajectory of the melody signifies the divine beings’ journey from the higher realms down to the earthly plane.

The melody, characterized by its penetrating energy, seems to traverse galaxies and planets. When amplified by the brass section, it brings the image of Earth into clear focus.

The Noble Mission in the Human World

At ((2:37)), the narrative of the symphony takes a significant turn as the divine beings begin their incarnation in the Middle Kingdom. Each note of the trumpet heralds the start of this monumental event, serving as both a greeting and a declaration of the commencement of a noble mission.

((2:55)) The journey of the gods in the human world is depicted, with their identities blending into the earthly realm. Taking on pivotal roles as generals, ministers, or sages, they become embedded within the core structures of the dynasty. And with this phase of the composition makes people think about a royal procession, rich with majesty and profound purpose.

The leading role of the trumpet, an instrument often associated with military spirit, loyalty, and heroism, comes to the forefront. Its commanding presence enhances the majestic spirit of this segment.

By ((3:18)), this atmosphere is further amplified with the addition of trombones, adding an extra layer of regality and grandeur to the procession.

Moving to ((3:31)), the strings burst into a lively melody, reflecting the martial spirit and steadfast loyalty of ancient men. This segment embodies the enthusiasm of each individual for their country, the qualities of a warrior, and the upholding of moral principles between the king and his subjects. The strings, with their dynamic and robust play, convey a sense of duty, honor, and the unyielding resolve that characterized the moral fabric of the time.

Awe-Inspiring Tectonic Process

At ((4:09)), the piece’s motion increases, symbolizing the accelerated process of laying the foundation and building the country. This part of the symphony is nothing short of heroic, portraying a grand tectonic process that leaves the listener in awe of the colossal and massive greatness of a civilization with a history spanning thousands of years.

By ((4:20)), the piece reaches a point where the shape of the country and its culture starts to become clearly discernible. This is not just a representation of physical construction; it is the manifestation of cultural identity and heritage being preserved for future generations.

A Return to the Royal Palace

As the orchestra revisits the melody that signals the descent of the gods at ((4:30)), we are brought back to the royal palace’s center.

At ((4:33)), the symphony welcomes us with court music, marking a shift from the grandiose to the intimate quarters of the palace. The imperial ladies’ appearance is elegantly portrayed through the delicate, soft, and flexible music of the strings.

This part of the symphony also sees the re-emergence of the erhus and pipas, instruments that, earlier in the piece, were synonymous with the ethereal presence of goddesses. Their reappearance here is a subtle yet profound acknowledgment of the reincarnation of these heavenly beings. Now, they are depicted as the delicate ladies of the imperial entourage, a transformation from divine to earthly, yet still retaining their grace.

The inclusion of brass alongside the strings and traditional instruments adds a layer of regality and authority, symbolizing the presence of court officials. It’s a musical representation of the balance of power and elegance within the palace walls. The brass, with its resonant and commanding sound, contrasts yet complements the softer melodies, creating a harmonious blend that mirrors the palace’s whole scene.

The Arrival of the Emperor

As the piece approaches its zenith at ((5:28)), the composition heralds a moment of profound significance: the emperor’s arrival marked by the full orchestra’s grandeur.

The manner in which the orchestra honors the emperor’s arrival is reminiscent of the earlier moment when the Creator first made His presence known. This parallelism is intentional and insightful. It suggests that the emperor, in this narrative, is more than a mere mortal ruler; he is portrayed as a reincarnation of the Creator. His vital role in shaping the dynasty and its cultural fabric is viewed as a continuation of the divine will.

The re-emergence of the theme tune at this juncture profoundly validates the composition’s core concept. It underscores the belief that human culture is a gift from the divine realm.

The orchestra’s soaring performance towards the end transcends time, echoing from the ancient past to the present, celebrating the glory of a civilization richly endowed by higher beings upon humanity. Through this piece, Shen Yun not only fosters a sense of deep appreciation but also inspires us to embrace and promote the profound values inherent in our divinely inspired culture.

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).

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Visiting the Shen Yun showroom profoundly changed my perception of traditional art's deep value, distinctly different from familiar modern pieces. This inspired me to integrate this elegant, classical style into my life, observing positive shifts in myself and my loved ones. Professionally, I value the creative process, learning from ancient artisans' patience and precision to create meaningful, quality results. Aspiring to share these traditional values, I hope we can find balance and virtue in modern chaos through the precious spiritual teachings of traditional culture and art.