Fri, May 16, 2003 - Page 18 News List

Setting the stage for melody


"Elegant Melodies Series" (雅韻系列), organized by Chang Kai-Shek Cultural Center (國立中正文化中心), has provided a welcome stage for Chinese music groups of all styles to present their non-solo and mid-scale productions in recent years.

With just four productions each year, the Cultural Center has managed to keep a high standard for its programs and the Chung-Hua Chinese Music Orchestra (中華國樂團) is going to add diversity to the series with its wide repertoire from Works of Chinese Music by Taiwanese Composers (台灣國樂作品聯展).

Set up in 1968, Chung-Hua Chinese Music Orchestra is one of the oldest amateur Chinese Music Orchestras in Taiwan. With 30 performers, mostly teachers of music in schools, from high school to university, it is also the biggest such group.

Though the orchestra's strong point is its works by Taiwanese composers, this concert will be characterized by an unprecedented range of styles, from the quintessentially folk approach, to the avant-garde. The only thing lacking is a large-scale work.

"Due to the limited space of the Recital Hall, we cannot perform large-scale ensemble works, but in other respects, this is a show with a great variety of styles and instruments," said Hsu Lun-Chian (許輪乾), pipa player and secretary of the orchestra.

One of the highlights of the show is The Sound of Autumn (秋之奏鳴), by Huang Hsin-tsai (黃新財), the conductor/composer known for his characteristic fusion of Chinese and European musical elements. Though only in his 40s, Huang has seen many of his works incorporated into the musical education curriculum.

The Sound of Autumn is a serene modernist string piece. Chen Chung-sheng's (陳中申) Celebrating Holly Carriage (慶神醮) harks back to an older era of Taiwanese music. With traditional cymbals and bugles to evoke an exultant atmosphere at a religious festival, it's a departure from the majority of rather solemn modern Taiwanese compositions.

A special number is Fan Guang-zhi's(范光治) On the River (江上), a moody and picturesque work which employs bawu (巴烏), the ethnic wind instrument with a mysterious sound from southwest China.

Chung-Hua Chinese Music Orchestra will perform at 7:30pm tomorrow evening at the Recital Hall(演奏廳), 21-1, Chungshan S Rd, Taipei (台北市中山南路211).

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