“An old man in Jiangsu province told me that there is a tree full of wren birds near a temple in Suzhou. People who make a promise over a burnt offering at the temple are bound to their oath. According to legend, if someone broke their promise, a wren at the temple would die. This is a song for dead wrens. The German poet Paul Gerhardt said, “When a man lies, he murders some part of the world.” The Chinese legend of the wren in Suzhou presents a literal interpretation of these words. “White Envelope for Wu Wren” is a funeral dirge for a bird killed by a broken promise.”
By using Eastern “Cousins” of Western instruments, the New Mexico based composer K.L. Forston creates a insightful and beautiful dirge to death by broken promises.