Foreword: This is the continue part of the previous article about Handel’s oratorios.
The Glorious Revolution The crown of
(Part I Scene I)
Foreword: Messiah, Handel’s most influential oratorio, is always the favorite concert program in the recent Christmas time. As I know, Messiah was also performed in the Christmas season this year in Hong Kong. The following article is about something interested to be found in the achievement of Handel’s oratorio. This is the first paper that I wrote while studying in the first year of undergraduate program. Interestingly, my perspective of the writing at that time was quite similar to the current historical research, that is, from the receptive side. As such, the following paper is about the receptive history of Handel’s oratorio in his day.
To be continued…….
Foreword: I haven’t written something new in the recent months. Of course, this is not really good. But, as having mentioned in previous essays, I have explored different topics in artmusic during my Post Graduate years. I am delighted to publish these articles in my personal blog, hoping to share my findings with all friends. This time, I would like to discuss a topic about Hong Kong Contemporary live composers’ music.
What people within a society reorganize as their shared common legacy can be termed collective memory. According to the sociologist who coined this term, Maurice Halbwachs, “there exists a collective memory and social frameworks for memory; it is to the degree that our individual thought places itself in these frameworks and participates in this memory that it is capable of the act of recollection.” Despite its alleged autonomous status, music can serve as a powerful platform for the operations of memory within the temporal dimension of our experience, both in our everyday life and, albeit in a different form, in the ritualized context of the concert hall experience. In the following discussion, I wish to look at how musical borrowing in a self-contained instrumental piece can be interpreted in terms of the relationship between individual and collective memories.
In conclusion, the presence of quotations in a self-contained piece not only expands the scope of musical materials used but also expands the scope of what composers can do with these materials as well as the scope of how listeners enter a new level of appreciation of the same materials. While Tan borrows materials in the form of expressive shorthand to let it function as a metaphor of an identity already formed, Tung uses collage quotations and allusions in an ironic and diverse ways to refute the idea that such an identity is there in the first place.
David Leung (theorydavid)
This short article is transferred from Mark Evan Bonds’ discussion on Berlioz’s ground breaking work. Hope you can enjoy reading it. I have a few editings dropped on it.
The Symphonie fantastique is also notable for its realism: Berlioz avoids prettifying ugly or grotesque themes, representing them instead with what were for the time, harsh-sounding musical devices. The last movement, “Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath,” for example, opens with an extended diminished seventh chord, a dissonance that may seem rather tame (even clichéd) today, but that would have sounded jarring at the time, conjuring for listeners a world of dark spirits. In measure 11, Berlioz briefly dispenses almost completely with triadic harmony in his effort to conjure the chaos and depravity of the imagined gathering of witches. The strings play a series of fourths of a guitar, the only instrument Berlioz himself ever mastered. The moment is fleeing, but it signals the beginning of an assault on what had been the foundation of Western harmony for at least two centuries. The return of the idée fixe, the theme associated with the beloved, in measure 40 on the Eb clarinet is also fittingly grotesque. The beloved, according to the program, has lost her noble and shy character and assumed the form of a witch.
David Leung (Leung Sir, theorydavid)
With a more open attitude to the West and the influence of contemporary Western musical language, a
new challenge for modern Chinese composers has arisen; that is, to integrate borrowed Chinese
musical materials within a contemporary Western musical idiom and still develop a personal musical
language and style without a loss of national character. As a result, from 1976 onward, many new
compositions used extended borrowing techniques. This trend brought with it a new way of using
borrowing, one that suited the needs of the composers with regard to personal artistic purpose and
aesthetic. Thus, the history of Chinese musical borrowing began a new chapter. In addition, some
Mainland Chinese composers, such as Tan Dun and Chen Yi began their overseas study in the late 80s
and 90s, especially in the United States. Under this multi-cultural impact, their use of musical
quotation is somewhat different from other composers from Mainland China. To some extent, it is
very similar to the situation of Hong Kong Chinese composers. But this discussion will be another
topic that I want to share with my readers in the other article.
 Under the Dynasty Ching’s educative system, students learnt from the teacher privately for the examination (Ke Ju). There were no public schools and music lesson.
 Professor Liu Ching Chih stated that the ‘New’ Chinese music is new because this music has no direct relationship with the traditional Chinese Music. It is not inherited from the past and cannot be found in the history of Chinese music. The composers, who are mainly trained by European musical tradition, compose all these new music though there may be some traditional or national elements borrowed in the compositions.
 Li, Huan, Zhi, “People’s Republic of China,” in New Music in the Orient, ed. by Harrison, Ryker, (Bure, Netherland: Frits Knuf Publishers, 1991), 210-211.
 The suite is based on the folksongs from Eastern Mongolia.
 Lui Chih-jih regarded this work cannot be considered as a work by created because of the largely borrowed materials inside and the composers Chen Gang and He Jianhao only re-arranged this piece.
 The composers and their works in this period are listed in the New Music in the Orient by Ryker Harrison in pages 189-198.
 Li, huanzhi, “People’s Republic of China” in Music in the Orient, p 205.
 The major compositions which have been arranged from traditional music are listed in the New Music in the Orient by Ryker Harrison for reference, pp. 205-208.
David Leung (theorydavid)