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Current time:0:00Total duration:10:10

Bright Sheng: "Black Swan". The composer and his work

Video transcript

when you ask composers who their favorite composer is you get unusual answers regarde Strauss for example who wrote Elektra and Rosenkavalier and great tone poems - Lauren Spiegel xerath rooster his favorite composer was Mozart Tchaikovsky this great Romantic who wrote music that was so passionate and so full of drama his favorite composer was Mozart you wouldn't think that and they used them a lot of miss Strauss for example conducted Mozart a lot Tchaikovsky actually wrote a suite called more Tatiana where he took Mozart pieces and orchestrated them and in in the list version which is a little unusual but it was still multi but if you ask bright Chang the Chinese American composer I think he would say Brahms and he orchestrated this gorgeous piano piece opus 118 number 2 of Brahms and the Jeanette so to me this is more the inspiration I just simply used the Brahms piece that opus 118 number 2 which is one of my favorite piano pieces as a pianist and I made a arrangement to make the orchestra version the music is serene and tender and he uses the orchestra in a very interesting way so when I say orchestrate clearly that means taking piano music and putting it in an orchestra so if you have a single note on a piano you could play it on let's say for in the middle register could be on a noble or a trumpet or a clarinet or a flute or a violin or viola or cello they could all play the same note you have to make a decision what do you want to convey to illuminate the music but also to keep it interesting so bright begins the piece using flutes and violins to play the melody in a very simple simple way this melody then gets played by the oboe and then with the flute after those repetitions of the melody the second melody comes in he puts this into the brass instruments a conversation between the trumpets then the third section of the work begins and he again brings the tuna to the violence but he uses the harp as an accompaniment he uses Pizza Cod or cello bass to give it a little rhythmic interest something you wouldn't have normally expected from Brahms of course I went a little bit beyond the Brahms orchestration I added some things that not traditionally the Brahms would do but I think added to the piece for example Brahms rarely used a harp in his music only a few exceptions but most of the symphony orchestra works he never used her up so I used harp and the particular part that I used as a melodic part which is also quite unusual it's a little bit outside the problems typical ground style the Corral of the brass is now repeated but this time in the strings and is with a beautiful quartet the new material begins so now this is what we could call the middle section or the B section the new material begins with the flute and oboe playing the melody string accompaniment a lot of Pizza coddled in the cellos and the violas again it's the kind of thing where I point out that Pizza canto you'll notice it but if I had not pointed it out it just seems organic it seems natural the repetition of this melody now is played in octaves between the first and second violin solo so it's just two players and a third voice kind of making it into a trio and this voice is the voice of the cello so this is a trio for two violins in a cello the repetition of that the third repetition of that melody is now done as a brass chorale halfway through he brings in the heart you wouldn't expect the harp to be part of a brass chorale but listen to this it's really quite magical next section begins with the strings playing in this very warm-hearted loud thick gorgeous way it leads us slowly back to a repetition of the very beginning of the piece this time done even softer and with more restraint this time I pull back and try to make the music just linger a little bit longer in a very soft and beautiful way again the brass chorale comes back as it did the first time this time instead of the streams repeating the brass chorale he uses the woodwinds what right does is he uses his tremendous sensitivity and musical knowledge and imagination to bring this piece to life without having analyzed it as I have it would be fine you don't need to know that analysis at all it is just gorgeous but knowing it just shows you the kind of work that composers do and I remember when bright told me he was working on this he thought it was going to be easy well it turned out to be quite difficult because he was very careful to try to make it seem and feel organic I tried to use my imagination that the color as a pianist when not performing it on the piano that I couldn't do because as a pianist we are thinking oh this is the oboe playing there's a home playing in this and that so um so in my my orchestration of this arrangement and I try to bring out the colours that I couldn't do as a pianist he certainly wasn't trying to orchestrate it in a way that Brahms would know but it certainly is true to the spirit of the music you