Tan Dun says: Eight Colours for String Quartet was the first piece I wrote after coming to New York in 1986. It shares the dark, ritualised singing, very dramatic form, and attention to tone colour and dynamic with my pieces written in China, such as On Taoism, but is still very different from them.
This string quartet marks the period of my first contact with the concentrated, lyrical language of western atonality. From it, I learned how to handle repetition, but otherwise responded in my own way, out of my own culture, not following the Second Viennese School.
I drew on Chinese colours, on the techniques of Peking Opera- familiar to me since childhood. The work consists of eight very short sections, almost like a set of brush paintings, through which materials are shared and developed
Recorded 28 September 2017, St Mary of the Angels, Wellington by RNZ Concert.
Producer: David McCaw
Engineer: Graham Kennedy