Fantastic Creatures of the Mountains and Seas
by Yangfan Xu (USA)

Program Notes:

Fantastic Creatures of the Mountains and Seas is a fantasy created by Yangfan Xu. The creatures in this piece are all recorded in Chinese mythology. Yangfan’s inspiration came from the Chinese classic Shan Hai Jing (山海经), which is a compilation of mythic geography and beasts. Lu Shu (鹿蜀), Shu Hu (孰湖), Di Jiang (帝江), Ran Yi Yu (冉遗 鱼) and Luo Yu (蠃鱼) are among the creatures featured in this piece. The storyline is original. Fantastic Creatures of the Mountains and Seas is a dream world, a curious vision, as well as a reflection on the interaction between humans and nature from ancient times to the present. Hope you can enjoy the wonderful journey into the ancient Chinese traditional mythology and Yangfan’s imaginary world.

Artworks are by Jinger Zhu.

It looks like a horse but has a white head. The markings on its body look like tigers and its tail is red. When it roars it sounds like a human singing. The name is Lu Shu (鹿蜀). People can bear more children if they wear its fur.

Its shape is the body of a horse but with wings of a bird. It has a human face and a snake tail. It likes to scoop up people and hold people in its arms. The name is Shu Hu (孰湖).

His appearance is like a yellow pocket, his glow is red like fire and he has six enormous feet. In place of his face are four wings and chaos. There is a god living in the mountains, and all primitive singing and dancing originated with him. His name is Di Jiang (帝江).

Ran Yi Yu (冉遗鱼) has the body of a fish, the head of a snake, and six feet. Its eyes are long like horse ears. Eating it can make people sleep without nightmares.

Luo Yu (蠃鱼) has the body of a fish and the wings of a bird. When it sings it sounds like a mandarin duck. Wherever Luo Yu goes, there will be floods.

This work has been selected for the Sydney International Composers Concerts 2023 – Contemporary Orchestral Music I on July 7, 2023. TLC Theatre Sydney Australia.