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Bright Sheng

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Seven Tunes Heard in China (1995)
G Schirmer Inc
Solo Works (excluding keyboard)
Year Composed
20 Minutes
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Programme Note
Bright Sheng Seven Tunes Heard in China (1995)

Composer Note:

[Bartok, Kodaly, and Stravinsky] were the ones who began a new approach to using roots music. Before them, composers just harmonized folk melodies. They didn’t convey the roughness, the savageness of this music.

I use [folk melodies] as a point of departure for my inspiration, and I take a lot of freedom. I’m searching for a new idiom that doesn’t belong to preconceived categories.

—Bright Sheng

  • Soloist(s)
    Yo-Yo Ma, cello
    Sony Classical:
  • Soloist(s)
    Yo-Yo Ma, cello (songs no. 5 and no. 7 only)
    Sony Classical:
  • Soloist(s)
    Alisa Weilerstein
[In] Bright Sheng's Seven Tunes Heard in China we seemed to be hearing traces of ancient tunes being sung, hummed, whistled and played right across the Eurasian land mass. Mr. Sheng's movements, inprovisatory in how they are composed, suited Mr. Ma's style completely and provided him with a full range of virtuoso challenges, from the loud, incisive pizzicatos of the fourth piece, to the delicate harmonics of the fifth, going way up to the cello's topmost territory.
Paul Griffiths , The New York Times,01/01/0001
For this disc, Yo-Yo Ma delves into the riches of the unaccompanied cello repertoire. Bright Sheng's astonishingly vibrant Seven Tunes Heard in China appropriates Quinhai folk tunes with a restless energy. Ma gets to the living core of these pieces, giving vividly conceived and flamboyant interpretations. Ma's gloriously limpid tone emphasizes their sensu-ality, from the heart-stopping stillness of the intriguingly named 'Little Cabbage' to the ethereal plucked glissandi of 'The Drunken Fisherman,' lifted straight from the sound-world of ancient Chinese music.
Catherine Nelson , BBC Music Magazine ,01/01/0001
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