This is a video recording of Music For Shizhu Ensemble, a piece that I wrote in spring 2012 for the Chai Found Music Workshop Composition Competition (sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it?) and which, despite making it to the final phase (thus the performance), did not manage to get any prize. Nevertheless, it was an interesting experience since I hadn’t written for Chinese instruments before.
My impression is that a Chinese chamber ensemble (that one consisted of Di, Sheng, Erhu, Pipa, Yangqin, Zheng and Ruan) has a lighter character and sound compared to its Western equivalent and there is definitely room to experiment with various timbre combinations, something that might be of interest to composers that are heavy into timbral composition. Most of the instruments are capable of playing technically difficult passages and I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the musicians seemed quite comfortable improvising, since my lack of knowledge about extended techniques on Chinese instruments led me to a combination of verbal instructions, in combination with simple symbols and conventional notation.
I hope you enjoy the video, many thanks to to Chai Found people for the recording.