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March 9, 2023Print | PDF
An electroacoustic concerto reimagined for Poet-Baritone, String Quartet, Logic Pro
Words by Lee Tsang
Music by David Braid
In memory of Justin Xue, Choi Sun-Tai, Tsang Lam Sam
Inspired by Kowloon/Jiulong Mountain Songs
I. Haven’t Sung for a Long Time
II. Black Fish
IV. Sounds of Butterfly Wings
V. Bamboo Dragon in Dark and Light
VI. a) Orchid Moon Recitative
b) Beloved Ten-Thousand Times Missed
VII. Drum with Mountain Song
VIII. Guardian of the Dragon Skin
IX. The Ninth Dragon
The University of Liverpool has generously supported Lee Tsang’s investigations into music and narratives of Zeng heritage, as well as associated studies.
Special thanks are due to elders and village leaders from Kak Tin, Fanling, and Lai Chi Wo, to Hakka folk song specialist Dr Stephen Cheung and to Professor Siu-woo Cheung for more general advice. Thanks also to HKUST and to elders of Yim Tin Tsai village for their helpful support during the development of an early stage of the composition, and to Vicky Tsang for her ever-frequent ongoing assistance in accessing relevant materials and provision of clarifications.
Nine Dragons Fantasy provides an innovative treatment of the Jiulong Shange tune as identified by Stephen Cheung. The sections ‘Haven’t Sung in a long time’, ‘Elevation’, ‘Beloved Ten-Thousand-Times Missed’ and ‘Drum with Mountain Song’ feature versions of the tune sung respectively by local indigenous Hakka singers Lee Lin 李蓮 (b. 1929) of Tai Po, Cheung Yuk-ying 張玉英 (b. 1939) of Sha Lo Tung, Tai Po, Tsang Yi-tai 曾二娣 (b.1927) of Lai Chi Wo, and Lee Kwan 李群 of Ha Hang, Tai Po. All field recordings of Hakka Traditional Shange 客家傳統山歌 are drawn from an archived collection recorded by Cheung at Hakka Shange Promotion Nights (Part I) held in Tai Po Community Centre, Hong Kong on 17 Dec 2003.
The Punti Shange of the Kowloon, Sha Tin, Sai Kung & Lantau Area were collected by Chan Wing-hoi (1984, 1985) for the Hong Kong Museum of History. Elders of Kak Tin village helped secure permissions for copies of the audio recordings relating to Chan’s 1984 Overall Report on the General Context of Local Folksongs Hong Kong. Text used for ‘Black Fish’ has been drawn from a Punti Jiulong Shange 本地九龍山歌 as sung by local indigenous Tsang Tai (b. 1891) of Kak Tin, and translated by Lee Tsang in consultation with Vicky Tsang, Mabel Tsang, Stephen Cheung, and Chloe Lai.
The words for ‘Sounds of Butterfly Wings’ are based on ‘Butterflies long for the flowers’ 《蝴蝶思花》 supplied in Wu Qi’s Yuefeng Xu Jiu (collected in Guangxi from 1658-1665) as reported by Shang Bi’s 商璧 (ed. 1985) An Investigation into Yue Folksongs 《粤風考釋》.
Original poetry by Lee Tsang draws inspiration from diverse researches which include the Tsang clans of Kak Tin and Lai Chi Wo, Mu clan of Guizhou, rituals at Pokfulam, and stories in the Zuozhuan of the Spring and Autumn period.
Acoustic reference to the Zenghouyi bianzhong has been possible as a result of the replica chimes from the National Centre for Traditional Arts, Taiwan.
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