Composer search

Search by surname

Detailed search

Repertoire search

Catalogue search

Wenchen Qin’s “Sounds that Awaken Memories” in a Review

The journal “Ensemble” published the following review of the printed edition SIK 8591 in its current issue 1/2010:

Wenchen Qin: „Klänge, die Erinnerungen wecken“ (Sounds that Awaken Memories) for recorder, sho, guitar and percussion
SIK 8591; € 12,50

“Things start out slowly at first. A Chinese gong, softly beaten with the fingers, resulting in a fog-like and quite unreal tone. A second beat, a third, fourth… fifth, sixth, seventh… A guitar glissando playing harmonics in the highest register sounds like chirping. Then there are birdcalls in the recorder and a rustling of the forest as is a Chinese ink drawing.
The Sho (sometimes also written as Zheng or Cheng) is a wind instrument popular in China and Japan, a striking mixture of mouth harmonica and hurdy-gurdy. Its sound is said to have been reproduced from the cry of the phoenix. It is relatively easy to play, but it has to be heated up during the rests over a small coal fire in white clay bowls (hibachi) in front of the musicians, so that no dampness will accumulate in the reed and ruin the sound. Its most important and almost ceremonial task in the Chinese orchestra is not to determine the timbre of the melody and build up tension that must be resolved, for example. Its chords are used to ‘freeze’ the melody and distance it from the listener.
The rigid sound of the Sho allows the tender web of tones to grow stiff. Like a kingfisher plunging from the sky to get a fish from the water, the peaceful scenery disrupted forever, the rusty sound of the Sho places the soft sound-image in a sombre light – leaving it changed forever. If it were silent, everything would be as it always is. Qin creates his musical material from the gestures of traditional folk music and the Chinese avant-garde in equal measure. And with few brushstrokes – like an artist from the heyday of Chinese painting – Wenchen Qin conjures up ‘sounds that awaken memories.’”


» Show all news