CHIAYI, Taiwan—One of the many wonders of a Shen Yun performance is its ability to bring the audience on a magical journey of 5,000 years of Chinese history. But on Sept. 30, a Taiwanese dentist found himself teleported to a paradise where time came to a standstill.
“The symphony orchestra was telling a story, as if it was presenting a magnificent panoramic photo,” said Huang Sheng-gong, who was among the capacity crowd at the Chiayi City Cultural Center Music Hall.
He added: “I felt like time and space had merged into one and created an eternal paradise.”
Western and Chinese Instruments
Like many locals who had come to listen to the symphony orchestra, Mr. Huang was extremely fond of the piece “Green Mountain,” and found the orchestra’s new interpretation of the iconic Taiwanese melody very refreshing.
“There were moments of softness and there were also moments of great power,” said Mr. Huang, who explained the best part, which touched him most, was the smooth transition going back and forth between the two sensations.
According to the program, “Green Mountain” is a piece about youngsters living on Ali Mountain in southern Taiwan, how they celebrated their strength and beauty, while also paying tribute to their spiritual connection with nature.
To his great fascination, Mr. Huang discovered that what made up the different sensations from the piece was the the effect of musicians playing two different kinds of instruments.
“The Chinese instruments gave off tenderness, as if they were meditating. Meanwhile, the Western instruments showed off their strength, as if they were a raging ocean.”
Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra, according to its website, is on the path to a new frontier of classical music, as it puts together ancient Chinese instruments with a Western symphony orchestra, to create a new, yet wonderfully familiar experience.
Mr. Huang was equally impressed by the masterful skills of the conductor, as well as the vocalists. He explained that the conductor was in such good command that he could have been a commander of an army.
“He was very professional, being able to coordinate all of these 100 musicians. He was really someone since they were very coherent. Their tones were also much in unison.”
As for the vocalists, Mr. Huang had much admiration for what they were able to do to convey to the audience with a single song—bringing forth the song’s softness, sweetness, swiftness, airiness, and other emotions.
“To bring out all of these through their imagination was something really, really challenging.”
Shen Yun vocalists, according to the company website, are able to sing with a beautiful and pure tone because they have adopted an ancient technique, the true bel canto, that has been lost in modern times.
Western and Chinese Violins
The soloists who played the violins—both the Western violin and the erhu, the Chinese violin, were able to communicate to the audience through their music, according to Mr. Huang.
In comments made about Fiona Zheng, the violin virtuoso who played the Western classic “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” by Camille Saint-Saëns, Mr. Huang was full of praise, for she “was so skillful that she could even make those extremely subtle tones very clear and distinct.”
He explained that such subtle distinction in sounds was not only a manifestation of her skill, but also the revelation of her inner peace, which according to Mr. Huang, was very difficult to achieve since much hard work goes behind the improvement in a person’s character and mind.
The erhu soloists, said Mr. Huang, were even better in sharing their emotions with the audience.
The erhu, with a history over 4,000 years, is known to be a very expressive instrument capable of conveying a wide range of emotions, even though it only has two strings, according to Shen Yun’s website.
“The music gave you a very, very three-dimensional feeling.” Mr. Huang added that “the transition from one emotion to another in the music was very vivid and clear.”
At last, he said he would recommend the performance to his friends and invite them to the concert together.
“I was really blown away and very moved because it was like music from heaven.”
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.