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Bright Sheng

Publisher: G. Schirmer

H’un (Lacerations): In Memoriam 1966-76 (1988),
G Schirmer Inc
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
22 Minutes
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Programme Note
Bright Sheng H’un (Lacerations): In Memoriam 1966-76 (1988),
H'un: In Memoriam 1966-76 is emphatically an angry and grieving cry of historical experience, music that vividly recalls the terrors of China's Cultural Revolution while mining the fertile resources of Chinese folk tradition.

  • Ensemble
    New York Chamber Symphony
    Gerard Schwarz
    New World Records:
  • Ensemble
    Seattle Symphony
    Bright Sheng (piano) Shana Blake Hill (soprano)
    Gerard Schwarz
    Naxos: American Classics:
H'UN, composed in 1988 when Sheng [had] just finished his American training, is the music of an ambitious, angry composer whose wounds were still raw and for whom the American experience was still new. It is aggressive, harsh-sounding music that lashes out before ultimately seeking meditative peace. But there is also a curious under-layer of enthusiasm. Enraptured with the language of the Western orchestra, Sheng almost seems to be enjoying his outrage, and we certainly do. The deprivations of the Cultural Revolution may have forced him to grow up too quickly, but in H'UN he recaptured the fervor of youth. Conducted by Carl St. Clair, the piece sounded as fresh here as it did 16 years ago at its premiere in New York.
Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times,01/01/0001
...dramatic and expressive, with sharp contrasts of East and West and instrumental voices, as well as rhythmic gestures, thrown at one another and then interwoven with exceptional lucidity and tautness.
R.M. Campbell , Seattle Post-Intelligencer,01/01/0001
H'un conveyed its message with the utmost urgency, sincerity and power; it signaled the arrival of a significant young composer...
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune,01/01/0001
...a powerful score...
Robert C. Marsh , Chicago Sun-Times ,01/01/0001
H'un rips into the consciousness with the knife-blade immediacy of a scream in the night.
...a truly stunning and powerful piece of music....a new work of substantial proportions and shattering eloquence....marvelously powerful...
Robert Finn , The Cleveland Plain Dealer,01/01/0001
Through Sheng's brilliant orchestration and his command of instrumental writing, H'un emerged as a searing tone poem in which emotional states are vividly shown....This is a work that should be regularly performed at political summit meetings, where heads of state discuss warfare and disarmament...
Melinda Bargreen , The Seattle Times,01/01/0001
[H'un] is a recollection of the Chinese Cultural Revolution by a young composer who lived through it....[It] examines hatred, tyranny, terror and suppression with a naked emotionalism that puts the weight of the composer's experience on the listener's shoulders....[It] describes a battle of the purely musical terms [and] hints that redemption is possible, or even in sight, yet ends with liberation just out of reach....Although...about a specific atrocity, it is also a mirror held up to the world today....The piece is what one would expect of a dissertation on the Cultural Revolution: its atmosphere is dark and somewhat hazy, its harmonies tense and its melodic gestures strained and often stifled. It is full of effects, which range from screaming wind bursts to sighing string figures and occasional flecks of Chinese percussion....Masur's performance conveyed the work's pained expressivity eloquently.
Allan Kozinn , The New York Times (1993),01/01/0001
..the performance that outshone all around it was the premiere of H'un...a searing portrait of the Cultural Revolution in China... [H'un is] deeply affecting, even terrifying at times...
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times (1988),01/01/0001
Bright one of the more fiery compositional talents on the American scene. H'un is white-hot proof of that talent.
Leighton Kerner , New York Village Voice,01/01/0001
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