Kuan-Chih Cheng: Flower in Mirror, Moon in Water – Mirror (Movement 1)
Sheng: Jialin Zhong / Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra, Turning Point Ensemble / Chih-Sheng Chen / National Recital Hall, Taipei, Taiwan. 2018.11.7.
Flower reflected in the mirror and the moon reflected in the water means the mood cannot be traced physically; the metaphor is virtual and ethereal. Through the story of Yuanming Tao’s “Record of Peach Blossom”, the composer tries to use music to describe the modern people’s pursuit of their dreams and future though self-reflection and exploration.
The music is divided into four sections, each of which is centred on the “Sheng”, which is an ancient wind instrument. The composer uses it to represent the “human”, and with each piece, it is paired with another main instrument in harmony. The rest are accompaniment instruments.
“Mirror” (solo sheng and second sheng): When the Wuling fisherman from the Jin Dynasty strayed into the Peach Garden, was his heart seeking purity on this land or fleeing from chaotic society? The second sheng plays behind the audience/backstage, representing the voice of the performer. From time to time, the sheng sounds slightly atonal, symbolizing social unrest and inner struggle.
(Trans: Kiah Mok Goh/Edit: Patty Chan)