TAN DUN (b.1957): Paper Concerto for Paper Percussion and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 10L110
Label: Opus Arte
Reference: OA 1013 D
Description: As with many of Tan Dun's works, this is really a multimedia piece, with the paper-wielding soloists performing theatrical gestures and dancing movements, with the play of light and shadow on the large sheets of paper used also important components of the work's presentation. Members of the orchestra are placed around the auditorium for spatial effects. In the first movement the orchestra provides a sparse background of quasi-Romantic fragments, for the presentation of the special percussion, which sometimes suggests the ritualized character of Chinese theater. The following scherzo is more conventional, somewhat Bartókian and highly rhythmic, with something of a jazzy feel. The third movement, impetuoso showcases dramatic paper rattlings and rustlings against what sound like gestures borrowed from conventional neo-Romantic orchestral music. The last movement begins with an impressionistic, shimmering orchestral interlude with suggestions of eastern modality, before breaking into a lively dance led by the principal soloist using a cardboard tube to emulate with remarkable effectiveness a drum of the tabla type. Typical filmed-for-TV concert presentation, with close shots of soloists and orchestral musicians, the composer-conductor's expressive facial expressions and the occasional wandering cameraman alternating with wider shots of the orchestra and auditorium. A short documentary follows the composer to a Chinese village while he explains some of his inspirations and the origins of his idea of paper as a musical resource; another shows him demonstrating various paper instruments (paper drum-heads and thunder-sheets obvious; torn sheets of parchment and a parasol snapped open and shut, less so); in yet another he demonstrates (for 25 minutes!) the preparation and use of the specially constructed instruments - rather fussy and very detailed, though arguably not approaching the technical demands of any conventional instrument. Future soloists for the piece will find this useful; others may not. Haruka Fujii, Rika Fujii, Tamao Inano (percussion), Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra; Tan Dun. 16:9 widescreen. 5.1 Dolby Surround or 2.1 Dolby Digital. NTSC Region 0. 81 min.