Lemon Black Tea
For Cello and Piano
The history of tea culture in Taiwan can be traced back to the 18th century when Chinese tea farmers brought bushes to Taiwan hoping to expand tea production. Today, Taiwanese teas are highly regarded worldwide. In Taiwan, one cannot walk down any street without passing multiple tea shops offering a variety of teas like milk teas, bubble teas, fruit teas, flavored teas, and traditional teas. On any given day, one will find hundreds of people carrying tea with them in their drink carriers or see a group of friends chit-chatting away enjoying a cold tea on a hot summer day.
Since moving to Taiwan, I have enjoyed many teas of all types. One of my favorites is 檸檬紅茶 (Níngméng hóngchá), lemon black tea. Taiwan can get quite hot during the spring and summer. I often order an iced lemon black tea to keep me cool while out
and about. Taipei has a beautiful and historic seaside district called 淡水 (Dànshuǐ). It is filled
with traditional restaurants, markets, food stalls, and old buildings telling the history of Taiwan. Once a month, I make the trip to 淡水 to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Every time I go, I enjoy a lemon black tea, or 檸檬紅茶, while sitting at the park, watching the
sunset and enjoying music by a street performer or two.
Lemon Black Tea was inspired by the trips taken to 淡水. It is a short narrative interpreting the journey to 淡水 on the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), and the arrival to the seaside station. The first section of the piece depicts the journey. The piano often contains quick and tricky passages that emulate the different sounds on the MRT like the bells and announcements at every station. You can also hear the clackingof the tracks and the crowds of people boarding or deboarding the train. The cello mostly plays long and smooth passages expressing the overall calm and scenic trip to the destination. Viewing the mountains and river through the windows and watchingthe city whisp by. The second part of the piece represents the walkthrough 淡水 and thetraditional surroundings. A folk-tune-like melody is introduced in this section to characterize the historical and traditional surroundings. Much like the people and the area, it is lively and upbeat. The ending is slow and reminiscent of the sunset by the seaside, and the delicious lemon black tea.