Bright Sheng: Three Chinese Love Songs
I’m honored to be sharing songs with you this week, the week of the “Hyphenated Americans” concert at Merkin Hall! I have loved exploring the music of two of the composers featured on Wednesday’s program: Bright Sheng and Daniel Sabzghabaei. This is a chance to hear many different styles of music influenced from the hybrid experiences of the composers. I’m particularly struck by how the language affects the style and even my vocal approach to this music. Chinese and Farsi couldn’t be further from typical “American English” or from each other, and I get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sing in both of these languages back-to-back. On the program you will hear “Three Chinese Love Songs” by Bright Sheng, which are arrangements of folk melodies for soprano, piano, and viola. It has been very satisfying to hear Cindy Wu work her magic on a very difficult viola part with lots of harmonics! When I asked her for something to listen to in order to get a better sense of how the language is sung and what the style of Chinese folk song is, she sent me this video, a setting of the first song in the set. Listen to the brightness of the language and the incredibly expressive sliding in the vocal line. I probably don’t have to tell you that this version is produced quite differently than what you’ll hear this Wednesday, but it’s a lot of fun—enjoy!