Sounds of Meditation
for voice and chamber orchestra

Xiao-ou Hu
Xiao-ou Hu
Composition Date: 2007
Duration: 00:15:30
Genre: Solo Voice, With Full Orchestra


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Flute
  • 1 x Oboe
  • 1 x Clarinet
  • 1 x Bassoon
  • 1 x Horn
  • 1 x Trumpet
  • 1 x Trombone
  • 1 x Tuba
  • 2 x Percussion
  • 2 x Piano
  • 1 x Soprano
  • 4 x Violin
  • 2 x Viola
  • 2 x Violoncello
  • 1 x Double bass
Instrumentation Set Number 2:
  • 1 x Soprano
  • 1 x Full orchestra
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Programme Note:
Sounds of Meditation for Voice and Chamber Orchestra Sounds of Meditation, a three-movement work for chamber orchestra and soprano soloist, is inspired by Tibetan Buddhist culture and three aspects of life in Tibetan Buddhism: Death, Transmigration, and Reincarnation. The timbral design and orchestration are based on traditional Tibetan instruments and Tibetan music. The piece also shows my effort to combine Chinese traditional music with a Western orchestra.
Each movement exhibits a character. In the first movement, the strong religious atmosphere created through tutti parts exhibits the mystery of a specific Tibetan sacrifice, sky burial . The second movement features Tibetan songs and dances. The music oscillates between slow and fast, includes conflicting effects, and is full of intensity. The last movement combines materials from the previous movements to emphasize the dramatic effects of Tibetan opera. Unity is achieved by having the instrumentalists chant in every movement, and the cadence returns the music to the opening in order to express the concepts of transmigration and reincarnation in Buddhist philosophy.
Timbral design also unifies the work. The oboe has similar melodies in the low register and the trombone is asked to evoke the sound of the Tibetan large horn. The chanting, intoned by instrumentalists, retains the same words (six mantras* and twelve mantras) in different rhythmic patterns in all three movements. These unifying aspects emphasize not only the overall musical structure of the piece, but also the program of the piece--the relationship among Death, Transmigration, and Reincarnation.

Premiere Information:
Wellesley, MA, U.S.A.
Jewett Fine Arts Center, Wellesley College
6 Jul 2007
American composers conference workshop chamber orchestra


  • Call Number:
  • MV 1400 H87so
  • Genre:
  • Solo Voice, With Full Orchestra
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • October 3, 2013
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (56 p.) ;
    56 Pages
    Height: 43 cm
    Width: 28 cm
    Parts page count: 149
    22 parts ([149] p.) ;
    Height: 28 cm
    Width: 22 cm
  • Language Information
  • Main language: Tibetan
  • Additional Information:
  • 1 The Sky Burial
    2 The Drama of Transmigration
    3 Nirvana

    The piece was awarded the 1st prize at George Enescu International Music Festival Composition Competition (Romania) in 2007.

    Text by Hu Xiao-ou
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