Imagine you are a composer, commissioned to write a work for two, primarily diatonic woodwind instruments, each possessing distinctive tone colors, a long history and strong cultural associations. You are writing music to be performed by two consummate masters of their instruments who can do virtually anything! Your biggest challenge is that you must somehow express the concept of “East Meets West.”
The last century saw the first large-scale cultural exchange between Asia and the West, and encounters with the music of Asia influenced some of Europe’s greatest composers – Debussy, Britten, Messiaen, to name a few. And many extended performance techniques, (such as fluttertonguing, pitch bending, the production of “non-musical” sounds, micro-tones, etc.) associated with modern music in the West, have been a part of traditional Chinese music for centuries. Conversely, the introduction of western techniques, such as counterpoint, functional harmony and formal structures has provided Chinese composers with new creative resources of their own.
”Dialogue – East Meets West” is the result of several years’ discussion and planning. It represents an exploration in sound, featuring ten new compositions by five young Chinese and five young Danish composers. Their works are colorful and varied and provide ten distinctive visions of the musical encounter between China and the West. Whether combining tradition and innovation, eastern and western elements, borrowed or newly created musical resources, each piece is an exploration of how these disparate and seemingly mutually exclusive views can provide new possibilities for creativity and beauty. While the very nature of a ”duet” implies a ”dialogue”, the variety of musical expressions create a ’dialogue within a dialogue’; the unique vision of each composer interacting with the vision of every other composer presented here.
From: Liner Notes, Booklet
Joshua Cheek, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Chinese National Day, 01.10 2008