Experiencing Spain for the first time inspired me to compose Viaje (Spanish for voyage), a 9-minute thrill ride. I was particularly drawn to the legend of Spanish hero El Cid and his two daughters, as they went through an innocent childhood, separation, distrust, and finally, reunion. I imagined the soprano saxophone as the voice of daughters, and the tenor saxophone as the voice of father. A musical dialogue between the two emerges in the middle of the piece, as if recalling a long-overdue conversation between father and daughters. It wasn’t until the piece was finished that I realized that I had unconsciously married my musical roots as a Chinese-American with my new found love of Spanish music.
This new scoring for soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone and piano was adapted from an earlier version of the work for flute, cello and piano, commissioned by Dolce Suono Ensemble.
“Zhou Tian's Viaje fused the composer's Chinese American sensibility with the lore of ancient Spain so convincingly that the exotic flute solos for Stillman sounded like the most natural thing in the world.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Zhou Tian’s Viaje is based on the saga of the Spanish hero El Cid and the trials of his daughters. This is the third time I’ve heard some version of it, and I can understand why Stillman keeps it in her repertory. The flute passages and orchestration evoke all the gallantry and tenderness of the subject.”
—Broad Street Review
“The dramatic opening surged with strong rhythms and featured fast, racing runs for the flute. The clarity and focus of Stillman's soaring highs was delightful. There were several fine duets between Stillman and principal cellist Roman Placzek along with forays by concertmaster Tasi Matthews. "Viaje" was engaging enough to make one hope for future repeats as well as other Zhou pieces.”
—Classical Voice of North Carolina
Other scorings available for this work:
Viaje for flute and string quartet
Viaje for flute, cello, and piano
Viaje for flute and string orchestra