Sound Bites

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 January, 2008, 12:00am

The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra will perform two very different programmes at the National Grand Theatre of China in Beijing this week. How does that reflect the breadth of the ensemble's repertoire?

Artistic director Yan Huichang:

'The first concert, which charts the development of Chinese music from ancient times to the 21st century, is made up of works commissioned by the orchestra. The classical tune Ambush from All Sides has been rearranged for contemporary orchestration. That shows we are as interested in the old as we are in new music.

'We picked Sentimentality, the fourth movement of The Desert Smoke Suite, because it is a very moving piece, while for contrast, we selected A Va Mountain by Guo Wenjing, one of the country's leading contemporary composers, that we commissioned in the 1980s.

'The second concert is more 'popular' and consists of works that aim to appeal to a broader audience. So we have Doming Lam's The Insect World, which is now a staple in the Chinese music repertoire, and Wang Ning's Festivity, which features celebrative music across the different regions on the mainland.

'One of the reasons why we have such a diverse repertoire is that, unlike many mainland orchestras, we have an orchestral season. In China, a troupe may tour around the country with the same programme while we have to perform different programmes each season. It's only in recent years that mainland orchestras started having seasons to build up their repertoires.'

Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Sat-Jan 27, National Grand Theatre of China