Quando il Fiume Giallo si acchiararà (Frammenti ricciani) (2011)

Ralf Yusuf Gawlick, assistant professor in the Music Department of Boston College, was invited to compose a piece of music that responded to the themes of the book exhibition that occasioned this website. The book exhibition – Binding Friendship: Ricci, China and Jesuit Cultural Learnings - was staged in part to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Matteo Ricci, the famous Jesuit missionary to China who died in Beijing in 1610.

The Burns Library has many books in its Jesuitica collection that concern east-west cultural exchange, and Ricci initiated much of this exchange. For instance, the collection has a first edition of Ricci’s journal, China in the sixteenth century (originally titled De Christiana expeditione apvd Sinas svscepta ab Societate Jesv), which was published in Augsburg, Germany, in 1615.

Professor Gawlick used the story of Ricci and what he was attempting to do to compose an original score, entitled Quando il Fiume Giallo si acchiararà (Frammenti ricciani) or, in English, When the Yellow River clears (Ricci Fragments). The accompanying interview and music files allow individuals to hear the intentions of the composer and then listen to the beautiful final piece as well. Just as Peter Paul Rubens was invited to produce work by the Jesuits he knew and met, so too was Ralf inspired by the story of Ricci to leave a legacy that can be enjoyed by all.