Please DONATE to help with maintenance and upkeep of the Wind Repertory Project!

Five Elements

From Wind Repertory Project
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Yunfei Li

Yunfei Li

General Info

Year: 2021
Duration: c. 12:50
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Yunfei Li
Cost: Score and Parts - Available 2022


1. Metal - 2:14
2. Wood - 2:12
3. Water - 1:49
4. Fire - 1:48
5. Earth - 3:27


Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
Horn in F I-II


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Dating back to over 5,000 years ago, the I Ching tells readers the stories of nature’s patterns through time. If we take a moment to observe the connections between Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood, we can begin to understand the importance of those Five Elements. Within the Five Elements theory, one thing is clear: these five fundamental materials shape the universal framework of our world. Even more importantly, the Five Elements are in a constant state of motion and counterbalance. Earth captures Water, which extinguishes Fire; Fire moulds and manipulates Metal, which cuts through Wood. Naturally, Wood plants roots in Earth, and the cycle continues. These cycles can take many shapes: Wood can feed Fire, while Fire prepares the Earth. Earth cultivates Metal, and Metal holds Water which nourishes Wood. At times, when one or more elements grows stronger than the other, the cycle is tripped and the balance is lost. What does one do to regain it?

On the face of this Earth, climate change and pollution has increased the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as wildfires and floods. As someone who is both concerned about climate change, and well versed in the Five Elements theory, I can feel the tension and instability between humans and nature. This deeply inspired me as a composer: by way of pitch sets, pentatonic scales, the circle of fifths, and juxtaposed rhythms, Five Elements tells the story of humanity’s continuous balancing act.

- Program note by composer


Video: University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory Wind Symphony (Anya Pogorelova, conductor)

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer