Fri, Sep 04, 2009 - Page 15 News List

MUSIC: In the mood for ‘Love Scenes’

BY Ian Bartholomew  /  STAFF REPORTER

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Concert of Chen Chien-chi: Love Scenes of Flowers and Farewell (陳建騏:花與告別的愛情場景) brings the enormously successful Taipei Arts Festival (台北藝術節) to a close with three sold-out shows this weekend. Chen is a figure normally seen in the credits rather than on the stage, and the concerts give prominence to a man whose work has played a major part in Taiwan’s efforts at cultural globalization.

Chen is an enormously prolific composer of music for the cinema and theater and is adept at creating a sense of mood with his scores. Among other high-profile projects are his scores for the musical Sound of Colors (地下鐵) and films A Fish With a Smile (微笑的魚) and Splendid Float (艷光四射歌舞劇), and musical arrangements for Fish Leong’s (梁靜茹) most recent album Worship (崇拜). He also composed the score for the new Wu Nien-chen (吳念真) production Somewhere I Have Never Traveled (帶我去遠方), which opens next week.

For tonight and tomorrow’s concerts, Chen will be working together with singer Waa Wei (魏如萱) and other performers to create a kind of musical theater. The shows will also feature the work of installation designer Huang I-ju (黃怡儒) and multimedia designer Logico (郎機工).

In an interview with the Taipei Times, Chen said this was the first time he had presented a show in this fashion, focusing on music but including stage settings and speech.

While the songs have a Shakes-pearean connection, Chen said the tracks do not necessarily reflect any particular scene or character.

“It is a dialogue between Shakespeare and me,” he said. “Prior to each number, there will be a brief introduction relating how the track was inspired. This will be quite brief, because I don’t want the audience to have a one-to-one association with anything specific in Shakespeare.”

Chen said he had chosen to use a largely acoustic setup, in keeping with the smaller space of the Guangfu Auditorium (光復廳) of the Zhongshan Hall (中山堂). “The space is really quite intimate. This makes it ideal for an acoustic lineup, because you can feel the breathing, the rhythms of the performance.”

While this style of presentation is new to Chen, his association with the Bard goes back to some of his theater music collected in the album Mad Scenes (瘋狂場景), released last year,

in which, as the title suggests, he created music for the performance of various scenes of madness from Shakespeare’s plays.

“As in the case of Ophelia. Her obsessive nature prevented her from accepting what was going on around her. This is a kind of madness. This has a close affinity to music, because it’s a mood rather than a narrative,” he said.

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