28 Jul 2013

Tan Dun (b. 1957)

From Composer of the Week, 7:00 pm on 28 July 2013
Tan Dun

Tan Dun Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0

Tan Dun is well known these days for his award-winning film scores.

In this programme, fellow composer Jack Body looks at some of his concert music and at his beginnings as a composer during the Chinese cultural revolution.

The idea of an “orchestra theatre” gradually came to me as a way of bringing the isolated performing arts back to people, back to the audience. Music can once again become a ritual bridge between the creative and the re-creative, completing the circle of spiritual life. How could a classical orchestra sound not classical? Could it convey the sense of another culture, a ritual of instruments and vocalization? Could this, which is common in Chinese theatre and folk celebration, be done with a Western orchestra? What would primitive sounds be like with Western harmony? I began to see the orchestra itself as a dramatic medium, as theatre. (Tan Dun)

 

Music Details:

YIN/CHU/SHENG/LIU: Yellow River Piano Concerto - Yin Chengzong (pno), Slovak Radio SO, Bratislava/ Adrian Leaper (Naxos 8.554499)
TAN: Symphony (Li Sao) - Not noted (China Record Co – AL 53)
TAN: Adagio for strings  - Not noted (China Record Co – AL 53)
TAN: On Taoism - BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/ Tan Dun (Koch 3-1298)
TAN: Nine Songs - Crossings Ensemble and Chorus (CRI CD 603)
TAN: Orchestral Theatre 1 - BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/ Tan Dun (Koch 3-1298)
TAN: Orchestral Theatre 1 - BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/ Tan Dun (Koch 3-1298)
TAN: Orchestral Theatre 1 - BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/ Tan Dun (Koch 3-1298)
TAN: Eight Colours for String Quartet - Arditti String Quartet (CRI CD 655)
TAN: Death and Fire - BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/ Tan Dun (Koch 3-1298)
TAN: Elegy: Snow in June - Anssi Karttunen (cello), Telujon Percussion Quartet (CRI CD 655)
TAN: Symphony 1997, mvts 10-11 - Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Yip's Children's Choir, Imperial Bells Ensemble of China, Hong Kong Phil (Sony SK 63368)
TAN: Ghost Opera - Wu Man (pipa, vocals, bowed gong, tam-tam, Tibetan bells, paper), Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch 7559 79445)
TAN: Water Passion, after St Matthew - Elizabeth Keusch (sop), Stephen Bryant (bass), Mark O'Connor (vln), Maya Beiser (cello), RIAS Chamber Choir, Berlin, David Cossin, Martin Homann, Adam Weisman (percussion) (Sony S2K 89927)
TAN: 2000 Today, A World Symphony for the Millennium - BBC Concert Orchestra; NChiCa Orchestra; London Voices; New London Children's Choir/ Tan Dun (Sony SK 89172)

Related Stories

  • Tim Dodd talks to Tan Dun
  • Kathryn Ryan talks to Tan Dun
  • Get the RNZ app

    for easy access to all your favourite programmes