Dai-Keong Lee: Polynesian Suite, Symphony No. 1
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL195     Release Date: 2010-07-01

Nürnberg Symphony Orchestra; George Barati Conductor

Dai-Keong Lee’s Polynesian Suite represents one of the most effective efforts to-date toward embodying both the popular and ethnic Polynesian musical idiom within the framework of Western art-music. The score was begun in 1958 and completed in 1959; and it was in connection with the 1960 celebration of Hawaii’s admission as the fiftieth state in the Union that the Polynesian Suite was given its first performance by the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra under the direction of George Barati. The dedication on the score reads: “To Hawaii, in celebration, on her admission as the 50th State.”

Lee summarizes the music’s three movements as follows:

Ori Tahitian — Tahitian Dance — is based on simple melodies from Tahiti. The dance is a fast, orgiastic ritual; the rhythms being in a fast duple meter, played on Tahitian wood block and other definite-pitch percussion instruments.

Hula — literally, a story to be interpreted in dance — is slower and the dance more graceful. A simple duple rhythm is set by strings and percussion, over which is heard a tetratonic chant. This subsequently becomes the counterpoint for a diatonic hymn-like folk melody for strings.

Festival makes use of chants from the pre-missionary era; but these have been altered through processes of inversion and other forms of attenuation, and the motifs were then couched in dorian and phrygian scales, accompanied with modal harmonies. From a formal standpoint, the movement stands as a free sonata-allegro.”

Concerning his First Symphony, Lee tells us:

“The first movement, Adagio con animaAllegro con brio, is a passacaglia and fugue — the initial theme being announced by the lower strings. The second movement — Andante espressivo — is in three-part song form; while the finale — Allegro animato — is a modified sonata-allegro that recalls early sections of the passacaglia movement. The close brings back the passacaglia motive in augmentation under high-string ostinato figuration.”


This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available as a burn-on-demand CD (CD-R) or download in MP3/320, FLAC or WAV formats. CD-Rs come in a protective sleeve; no print booklet or jewel case included. Full liner notes are accessible via the link above.

Nürnberg Symphony Orchestra

Dai-Keong Lee: Polynesian Suite, Symphony No. 1

MP3/320 $7.99
FLAC $7.99
WAV $7.99
CD-R $7.99
CD-Rs come in a protective sleeve; no print booklet or jewel case included.


Track Listing

Polynesian Suite: I. Ori Tahitian
Dai-Keong Lee
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Polynesian Suite: II. Hula
Dai-Keong Lee
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Polynesian Suite: III. Festival
Dai-Keong Lee
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Symphony No. 1: I. Adagio con anima - Allegro con brio
Dai-Keong Lee
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Symphony No. 1: II. Andante espressivo
Dai-Keong Lee
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Symphony No. 1: III. Allegro animato
Dai-Keong Lee
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