Michael Carenbauer von der University of Arkansas begeisterte das Publikum
Connie Ng has performed to critical acclaim in Hong Kong, Hawaii, Portugal, Japan, Taiwan and Moscow. Her CD "The Butterfly Lovers" with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Shanghai Folk Orchestra was one of the best selling CDs in Asia. Her second CD was recorded with the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra and China Broadcast Folk Orchestra. She studied zheng, (also translated as guzheng), with RAO Ning-xin, Chan Chuen-yum and CHAN Nui-see and graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts in 1989. In the same year she was the winner of the guzheng solo in the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival and the Chinese Music Grand Award of Hong Kong Arts Festival. Ms. Ng currently is the soloist of the Hong Kong City Chinese Orchestra and teaches for the Provisional Urban Council, Provisional Regional Council Music Office of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Chinese University.
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The Sextet for Guitar, Zheng and String Quartet reflects my eclectic musical interests and elicits the interaction of musicians with diverse backgrounds. This unusual instrumental combination presented a unique set of challenges and opportunities. The zheng has has much in common with the guitar, albeit from a different musical perspective. Both instruments produce sound in similar fashion, have a rapid decay and have the ability to play in between the 12 pitches associated with the western intonation system. Interestingly, the zheng is tuned to the pentatonic scale, a universally popular pattern which is the predominant melodic component of much of blues and American popular music. These performance similarities of the zheng and guitar are offset by different historical paths. The zheng has a distinguished 5000 year history. It was considered archaic at the beginning of the Chinese republic and almost sank into complete obscurity during the May Fourth movement. The brief history of the classical guitar has been overshadowed by the incredible emergence of the electric guitar that has transformed popular music throughout much of the world. I thought it would be interesting to combine the sounds of the zheng and guitar with the fullness of the string quartet.
The first movement of this work is divided into 3 sections. Mountain Meditation recalls the Chinese visual landscape tradition and programmatic musical emphasis. A brief exchange, (like drops of rain), between the guitar and zheng is followed by an ostinato figure and held notes in the strings. The arpeggiated figure of the guitar provides a harmonic foundation that changes the aural landscape much as the morning light may change a mountain scene. A transitional Rain Dance section is followed by an Appalachian-like theme, (Cabin Creek), and an improvisatory exchange between the guitar and zheng.
Cabin Creek audio excerpt is located at:
Kam Tin Song features the zheng in a childlike melody that embraces the sentimental and nostalgic side of Chinese music. The harmonic support and accompaniment supplied by the guitar and strings is very much in the American popular music style, as is the overall song form and use of 4 bar phrases throughout.
Kam Tin Song audio excerpt is located at:
The Finale is loosely based on a Chinese folk song. The primary theme is introduced at the start by the zheng with a guitar counterpoint. The harmonic basis of the counterpoint becomes the ground for the syncopated violin figures when the melody reappears with the cello. The theme and accompaniment are reintroduced in retrograde and inversion subsequent to a rousing finale.
Finale audio excerpt is located at:
"Music for Guitar and Strings"
3 major works for guitar, string quartet, and a special guest appearance by zheng artist Connie Ng
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