Kuafu is a character from Chinese folklore. In the early days of the earth, the Sun never set; it stayed in the sky day and night scorching the land, killing crops and livestock. The outcry of the people was so loud that it awakened Kuafu. Kuafu took it upon himself to catch the sun and make it go away. So began an epic chase: Kuafu valiantly chased after the burning sun which always managed to stay just out of reach. They ran on for days and weeks until finally, Kuafu collapsed from heat exhaustion. The sun, however had now been set in motion and now traverses the sky normally. Kuafu’s body became a mountain range and his club grew into a mighty forest.

I have aimed to depict this story in the music. There are basically two parts: the slow introduction that is meant to depict the scalding sun’s devastating effects. The sun, depicted in the high woodwinds, burns in the sky. The earth cries out in the low winds and brass and Kuafu slowly wakes. A bold statement in the trumpets heralds Kuafu’s arrival and the chase ensues. The chase music culminates in Kuala’s fateful crash into the landscape as the sun fades into the distance.

The complete instrumentation of this piece is:

  • Piccolo
  • 3 Flutes
  • 2 Oboes
  • 2 Bassoons
  • 3 B-flat Clarinets (each part divisi a2)
  • Bass Clarinet
  • Contra-alto Clarinet
  • 2 Alto Saxophones
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • 4 B-flat Trumpets
  • 4 Horns in F
  • 2 Trombones
  • Bass Trombone
  • 2 Euphoniums
  • Tubas (3 preferred, part divides into 2)
  • Double Bass
  • Timpani
  • Mallet Percussion (Xylophone, Vibes, Glock.)
  • 3 Percussionists:
    • 1 – SD, Woodblock, BD, 2 Toms, Triangle
    • 2 – Field Drum, SD, 3 Suspended Cymbals, Bongos, Ride Cymbal
    • 3 – Tam-tam, Large Suspended cymbal, Hi-hat Cymbal, Anvil