Luo Jiang Yuan – A Bit Blue
for String Quartet
by Yangfan Xu

“Luo Jiang Yuan – A Bit Blue,” an episodic single movement work, suggested a tableau of jazzy syncopations and riffs, contrasted with pizzicato pentatonic themes, probably not an unexpected combination from a Chinese-American composer, a protege of Mason Bates.” – San Diego Story

“Luo Jiang Yuan – A Bit Blue” was premiered by the Friction Quartet in San Francisco in 2019; it won the first prize in the 2020 Hausmann Quartet Composition Competition.
Luo Jiang Yuan is the title of a Chinese traditional folk tune, meanwhile the title of a famous “词” (“Ci,” which is a type of poem). In traditional Ci, diverse poems by different poets share the same title with the same structure of the poem; just like in jazz tradition, the same title with various interpretations and improvisations. “Yuan” usually stands for “hatred, blame,” but the meaningin the context are more of the unspoken sadness, opression and melancholy. The music is lyrical and blue, in which I find it connected with Blues music.

This work has been selected for Sydney International Composers Concerts 2023 – Contemporary String Quartets concert on April 14, 2023, at TLC Theatre, Sydney Australia.