Exploring Mixed Ensembles Series #2

Ming-Chi Chan: Song of the Rainforest (Commissioned Work, World Premiere)
Zhongruan: Chung-Ching Chen, Percussion: Hsu Chang / Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra, Tien-Ku Percussion Group / Chih-Sheng Chen / National Concert Hall, Taipei, Taiwan 2013.7.24.

This work is from the composer’s “Touring the World Through Music” series. It is based on Chen’s idea of the “Chinese orchestra being the body, and music from other cultures are the leaves”.

The story begins with a poet and his string instrument travelling through the rainforests of South Asia, reaching the southern-most point, known as the “lungs of the earth”. The high temperature, humidity, and complex ecological environment had nurtured many different creatures there. Behind the beauty and mystery, this area has the most abundant and varied crops and vegetation on earth, proving indispensable as a natural resource and for medicinal development. The rich diversity of these rainforests has its own unique culture and is a part of humanity’s natural heritage.

The whole piece is divided into six sections: “Happy Travels I”, “Solemn Playfulness”, “Romantic Rain”, “Call of the Forest”, “Happy Travels II” and “Dance of the Elves”. Chen incorporates Spanish Flamenco, Indonesian Kecak (dance) and Angklung (bamboo instrument), Latin dance, along with other performance and singing styles to show the poet’s admiration for the rainforests, and calling the world to cherish nature.

Special thanks to Professor Youqin Ying for developing the natural resin-produced Ankeron and Professor Wenxin Rao for his performance guidance.
(Trans: Kiah Mok Goh / Edit: Patty Chan)