Without Title

Without Title contains three Chinese songs as follows:

Without Title  無題
by Li Shang-yin 李商隱 (812?-858)

Last night’s stars, last night’s wind
West of the painted pavilion, east of the cassia hall.
Our bodies have no colorful phoenix-wings to fly side by side;
Our ears are linked to each other as if by the line in the magic horn.
As she passed the hook from another seat, the spring wine was warm;
Divided into teams, we guessed at riddles under the red candle’s light.
Alas, I had to answer the call of duty when the drum sounded,
And ride my horse to the Orchid Terrace, like a tumbleweed in the wind.

昨夜星辰昨夜風 畫樓西畔桂堂東
身無綵鳳雙飛翼 心有靈犀一點通
隔座送鉤春酒暖 分曹射覆蠟燈紅
嗟余聽鼓應官去 走馬蘭臺類轉蓬

The East wind sighs, the fine rains come,
Beyond the lotus pond, faint thunder.
A gold toad gnaws the lock. Open it, burn the incense.
A jade tiger pulls the rope. Draw from the well and escape.
Lady Chia peeped through the curtain at young Secretary Han;
Princess Fu left a pillow to the gifted Prince of Wei.
Never let your heart open with the spring flowers,
One inches of love is an inch of ashes.

颯颯東風細雨來 芙蓉塘外有輕雷
金蟾齧璅燒香入 玉虎牽絲汲井迴
賈氏窺簾韓掾少 宓妃留枕魏王才
春心莫共花爭發 一寸想思一寸灰

Bite back passions. Spring now sets.
Watch little by little the night turn around.
Echoes in the house; want to go up, dare not.
A glow behind the screen, wish to go through, can not.
It would hurt too much, the swallow on a hairpin;
Truly shame me, the phoenix on a mirror.
On the road back, sunrise over Heng-t’ang.
The blossoming if the morning-star shines farewell on the jeweled saddle.


Translated by Charles Angus Graham, adapted by Mei-ling Lee.

River Snow


This piece is based on the Chinese poem River Snow by Liu Zangyuan (773—819), writer and poet of the Tang Dynasty. The theme’s melody mirrors the tonal shifts that can be heard when the poem is recited in its original Chinese. I’ve translated the poem’s text as follows:

“A thousand mountains—no bird’s flight.

Ten thousand paths—no man’s trace.

Single boat, an old man, in a straw raincoat.

Alone, fishing, in the icy river. Snow.”