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Zhao Zehua

The dialogue between the East and West in the early piano works by Wang Lisan (on example of Sonatina)

The article deals with one of the famous piano compositions by Van Lisan – Sonatina (1957), created in the early period of his creative activities. The originality of imagery and stylistics inherent in this work demonstrate Van Lisan’s individual approach to conversion a folklore material and the special ways in which he implements national traditions through the sound palette and the technical capabilities of the piano. The authors carried out a comprehensive analysis of Van Lisan’s Sonatina, including the study of each part of the work from the point of view of intonation, tonal and harmonic plan, figurative expressiveness and music dramaturgy. Based on the analysis, the authors were able to identify the systemic connections of Van Lisan’s piano music with national and European musical styles. In particular, the national flavor of the composition is given by the imitation of the sound of folk instruments: in the first part, the accompaniment reproduces the playing of the shen; in the second part, the melody imitates the sound of the Yunnan wind instrument – hulusy; the introduction to the third part creates the effect of sounding gongs and drums. The Chinese sound is also associated with the use of traditional Chinese modes: Yu-mode (the first theme of part I), Gong-mode in F (the second theme), etc. At the same time, the genre of the sonatina, the structure of its parts, the use of polyphonic techniques, methods of motif development bring the work closer to Western European examples. As a result, the authors come to the conclusion that the originality of the composer’s piano work lies in the deep and multifaceted disclosure of national folklore. The composer uses European genres and compositional techniques, introducing individual features via thematic material, Chinese national modes and harmony.

Key words

Wang Lisan, synthesis of the East and West traditions, piano music for children, Sonatina, Chinese traditional modes, program tendencies.

For citation

Zhao Zehua. The dialogue between the East and West in the early piano works by Wang Lisan (on example of Sonatina) // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2022. No. 4. Pp. 87-94.