Five songs from the East : for pipa and piano
by Maria Grenfell (2012)
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Library shelf no. 787.8/GRE 1 [Available for loan]
Five Songs from the East is a contemporary "re-composition" of five Chinese folk melodies, set for pipa (Chinese lute) and piano, written for pipa master Wei Deng and pianist Shan Deng. The folk melodies were obtained by Shan Deng from the Chinese Music Research Institute in Beijing, as part of a project funded by a research grant from the University of Tasmania to explore the potential connections from synthesising Eastern folk music with new Australian composition, and pairing a traditional Chinese instrument with a Western one. Although the combination of Chinese instrument with piano is not new, the idea of "re-composing" traditional Chinese folk tunes into new works by an Australian composer is relatively unique. The titles of the folk melodies used were difficult to translate effectively into English, but appear roughly as movements 1, 2 and 5: "Shoo-shoo bird," "A type of tree," "Lao Yo West Song," with movements 3 and 4 given their titles by the composer based on their character and relationship between pipa and piano. The five songs aim to evoke tone colours shared by the two instruments, as well as engage the pair in a dialogue at varying times wistful, conversational, animated and colourful. The composer is extremely grateful to Wei Deng for sharing his encyclopaedic and virtuosic pipa knowledge, and to both Shan and Wei for their dedication and creativity in bringing these compositions to life.
Instrumentation: Pipa, piano.
Duration: 22 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — pipa player of professional standard
Contents note: I. Little bird -- II. Tree song -- III. Conversation -- IV. Blossom -- V. Lao Yo west song.
Commission note: Written for Wei Deng and Shan Deng
- Influenced by: Chinese folk music
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