Eroica - Tan Dun Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra HK City Hall Concert Hall Reviewed: Jan 8 Composer Tan Dun doesn't so much think outside the box as stand outside it, throwing in pebbles and lapping up the creative ripples that flow into his imagination. Tan (below) belongs to that rare breed of musician who can both pen a score and direct the performance with equal authority. This concert was an all-Tan affair, showcasing a mixed sample from his catalogue. Concerto for Improvisation: Of Birds and Man is a soundscape for a landscape, in which muted vocalisations, orchestral colours and nine caged songbirds fuse into a representation of nature's gentle cacophony. The fluidity of the sonorities was well paced in a double-peak structure, against which solo percussionist Chau Chin-tung enticed his instruments and the birds to speak with eloquence. Northwestern Suite revises part of Tan's dance drama, The Yellow Earth. The thrust of the piece is exactly that: full-throated and with robust passages for percussion that benefit from astute scoring, and so never swamp the texture. The fourth and final movement, Stone-slab Waist Drums, sported decibels aplenty, but ideas started to repeat themselves well before the end. The suite of the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon score (solo cellist, Anssi Karttunen) was accompanied by visual excerpts from the film. This was a mistake. Sight and sound fought for pre-eminence: the spectacle of an unfortunate being stabbed while a sinuously charming tune dominated the foreground exemplified the mismatch. The rationale behind Internet Symphony - Eroica is almost cosmic in its intention, but the four-minute piece just can't help sounding like a blend of Gone With the Wind, Short Ride in a Fast Machine and a Big Top sign-off. Still, it's a jolly good romp.