Whispers of a Gentle Wind (2011) by Kuoping Jia
The title comes from the poem "Mo Zhu Tu” by Banqiao Zheng, and the piece expresses the "natural" essence in personalized language, which is the core of traditional Chinese art. The structure is divided into four parts, mostly adopting a flexible tempo and layout for an effect that is natural and free, showing the unique Chinese characteristics of music improvisation. The whole piece is a total of 127 sub-sections, and each section is a separate aural moment. The process fills space with the continuous production of new sound; therefore, duplication technology is seldom used in this work. Even if repetitive material appears occasionally, it’s a variation or transformation.
In an interview with Sikorski music publishing, Jia said "The piece for four Chinese musical instruments Whispers of a Gentle Wind reflects basically my personal characteristics. I’ve found a processing method of musical sound, which is ever-changing and with open space, showing the aesthetic pursuit of Chinese traditional art, that is the actual and virtual situation of music language, tempo changes, and instantly transformation and flow characteristics of tone color. "
This piece premiered during the Ensemble Contempo Beijing Concert on May 14, 2011, in Beijing Concert Hall.
Yuan-Liu (2009) by Kee-Yong Chong
Yuan-Liu (Origin-Stream) is the second piece of my “Yuan” series. Written for the traditional 37-reed soprano sheng, two pianists and two percussionists, the piece is based on the Chinese philosophy about the five basic elements, or “Wu Xing”—wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. In this piece, the system of the five elements is used for describing interactions and harmonic relationships among nature’s phenomena. As such, I interpret ‘tranquility’ and ‘movement’ as an abstract space in this composition, where elements—every point and line, bright and dark, strong and weak, silence and action—transform and influence each other. This work was commissioned and dedicated to shengist Wei Wu and Ensemble Berlin PianoPercussion, who performed the world premiere conducted by Ms. Ya-Ou Xie in the concert "Polaritäten" at the Japanese-German Center Berlin on November 5, 2009.
Trace of Bamboo (2013) by Yu-Chung Tseng
Trace of Bamboo was composed for Chinese bamboo flute and live interactive electronics with Max/MSP. The main idea of the composition is to extend the performing techniques and expressive gamut of the traditional Chinese bamboo flute through the use of electronic technologies, including various real time processing DSP techniques, an interactive music system, and the employment of “extended techniques” of bamboo flute including harmonics, Aeolian sound, tongue-clicking sounds, and more. Through the use of the above-mentioned techniques, the timbres, music gestures, and idioms of bamboo flute were extremely expanded and extended to the extent that the tone quality of the bamboo flute could hardly be recognized and traced at certain points while the music evolved. As a result, a sense of the composition’s surreal beauty may thus be created. The structure of the work reveals certain degrees of influence from general structural features of Chinese music: through-composed with multiple sections, each with different characteristics. The work also shows some influences drawn from traditional performance idioms of shakuhachi and Chinese theatrical music. Trace of Bamboo was commissioned by Taipei City Chinese Orchestra and has been performed at the 2013 ACL Asian Music Festival in Singapore and the 2014 International Electronic Music Festival in Beijing.
Dawn on the Steppe (1997) by Shuya Xu
The idea for this work originates from the folk music of Inner Mongolia in China. The composer imported his own perspective into the traditional pastoral songs, creating a piece based on the particular intervals, timbres and characteristics of this region’s music. The composer developed the music by using “Yin Chang” (a unique way of chanting in Inner Mongolia) in both vocal and orchestral parts which interact with each other. The 5/8 meter penetrates from the longer phrases to the shorter segments in order to convey scenes at dawn as imagined by the composer. The color of the harmonies changes as if the filmy light is getting closer from afar. The instruments are divided into four groups: 1) voice, pipa and zheng; 2) alto flute, oboe and clarinet; 3) violin, viola and cello; and 4) harp, piano and percussion. Netherland New Music Ensemble performed the world premiere, conducted by Shuya Xu in Paradiso Music Hall, Amsterdam, in 1997.