TAINAN, Taiwan—For a few moments during the performance, Taiwanese violin teacher Zhang Mei-de thought the instrumental ensemble before him was made up entirely of Chinese instruments.
“The concert is terrific!” said Mr. Zhang, a violinist and owner of a musical instrument store. He was so stunned at the harmony of the music that he thought it could only be the work of one single musical tradition—the East.
He attended the second of two performances at Cheng-Kung Auditorium on Sept. 24.
“The works are very, very successful,” he said. “The melodies are very beautiful. The rhythms are smooth.”
In fact, Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra is blazing a new trail in classical music—with the combination of classical Chinese instruments and a Western symphony orchestra to create harmonious melodies, according to its website.
“I almost forgot the violins and cellos in the orchestra were Western instruments. They sounded like they were created naturally for Eastern music.”
“This concert is really unforgettable.”
Reaching the Highest Realm
Having being an orchestra director, Mr. Zhang said he paid much attention to the arrangement of the instruments. And he was deeply impressed with what he heard.
“The treble of the violin was surrounded by the middle and the bass sound [of cellos, double basses, and other instruments],” he explained. “The effect it produces is a very, very pleasant sound, in which the treble is not sharp but rich and mellow; the middle and bass sound is not weak but full and round. They compensate each other.”
And to balance all of these sounds, said Mr. Zhang, it was job that lay with the conductor, and he had mastered his job.
In an interview on the company’s website, Milen Nachev, the conductor of the orchestra, explained that he had to prepare both “musically and theoretically” for the complexity of combining two music traditions.
“You also have to be extremely well prepared with the history of music and knowledge about the capacity of every instrument in the orchestra,” Mr. Nachev said.
Besides the conductor, Mr. Zhang was also amazed with the skills of the musicians. “There were 12 violins but they produced one single sound. … And when the three erhu soloists played together, it also sounded like only one soloist was playing.”
The erhu, also known as Chinese violin, is a two-string instrument that has a history of 4,000 years.
“They have reached the highest realm for an orchestra.”
Culture Behind the Music
Mr. Zhang felt excited and happy after the performance for many reasons.
Through the combination of instruments, he said, 5,000 years of Chinese culture and history were presented right before him. “This is very rare and precious.”
Before going to the performance, Mr. Zhang was worried about whether he would embrace the all-original compositions presented by the orchestra. Afterwards, he said the music came to him naturally.
“The depth of its emotion and the skills of the musicians are fully in display,” he explained, and the music was “full of ups and downs and different climaxes.”
In the interview, Mr. Nachev said the orchestra was devoted to “make the melody extremely transparent.”
“We want every single detail inside the score to be so clear and articulate that we’ll bring a different spectrum of colors behind the melody,” said Mr. Nachev.
Mr. Zhang also liked to tip his hat to the composers, since it was not easy to create music that could be so easily embraced, and much devolution and hard work must be behind their creativity.
“It is so wonderful that no words can describe it,” he said at last. “So I sincerely recommend it to everyone.”
Reporting by Frank Fang and Sunny Chao
New York-based Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra comprises musicians from the four Shen Yun Performing Arts touring companies. For information about the October performances, visit: ShenYun.com/Symphony
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.