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Shih-Hui Chen (b.1962): Returning Souls - chamber works and songs / various artists

Audio Samples

>Chen, Shih-Hui : Returning Souls
>     Four Short Pieces on Three Formosan Amis Legends, for violin
>Chen, Shih-Hui : Returnings, for flute, cello & percussion
>Chen, Shih-Hui : Sweet Rice Pie
>     Six Songs on Four Taiwanese Nursery Rhymes, for voice, violin, cello, flute, clarine
>Chen, Shih-Hui : Fantasia on the Theme of Plum Blossom, for string quartet
>Chen, Shih-Hui : Our Names, for narrator, violin, cello, flute, clarinet, piano & percussion

Album Summary

>Chen, Shih-Hui : Returning Souls
>Chen, Shih-Hui : Returnings, for flute, cello & percussion
>Chen, Shih-Hui : Sweet Rice Pie
>Chen, Shih-Hui : Fantasia on the Theme of Plum Blossom, for string quartet
>Chen, Shih-Hui : Our Names, for narrator, violin, cello, flute, clarinet, piano & percussion
Performers Conductors Ensemble
  • >
Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The five compositions by Shih-Hui Chen (b. 1962) on this recording can be considered variations of an "ethnic style": they reflect her experiences of being able to return to Taiwan for a year in 2010 as a Fulbright Scholar specifically to study its music. Particular Chinese/Taiwanese myths and ideas stand behind these compositions. Melodies and instrumental techniques, topics and texts, and the use of Chinese musical structures such as heterophony, and the peculiar stretta effects which can be seen both in terms of metric as well as in terms of sonic arrangements, are all elements that can be explained as derived from Chinese and Taiwanese musical practice. Each of the pieces revolves around a small number of notes and motifs that are continually reinterpreted. The compositions feature colorful sounds and they exemplify Chen's particular predilection for effective timbres, for the potent qualities of "noise" as well as of "silence" as part of a comprehensive musical whole. Not unlike many other composers of Chinese descent, who consider it important to express their "Chineseness" in music, Chen employs this style to great effect.

American Record Guide, January/February 2014
Returning Souls is a 10-minute suite for solo violin based on three Formosan Amis legends, played with beauty by Lin. The longest piece is played by the Formosa Quartet, a three movement 16-minute work based on a well-known (in China) tune called Plum Blossom. This is also a piece that holds the attention well. The program ends with Our Names, a 14- minute piece with a narration in English read with feeling by Fischer, joined by an unnamed woman. All in all, this is a very listenable collection of original music.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Stude Concert Hall, Shepherd School of Music, Rice Univ.



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Works Details

>Chen, Shih-Hui : Returning Souls :: Four Short Pieces on Three Formosan Amis Legends, for violin
  • Performer: Lin Cho-Liang (Violin)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2011

>Chen, Shih-Hui : Returnings, for flute, cello & percussion
  • Performers: Bion Tsang (Cello); Leone Buyse (Flute); Robert Schulz (Percussion)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2009

>Chen, Shih-Hui : Sweet Rice Pie :: Six Songs on Four Taiwanese Nursery Rhymes, for voice, violin, cello, flute, clarine
  • Performers: Timothy Jones (Bass-Baritone); Nuiko Wadden (Harp); Norman Fischer (Cello); Leone Buyse (Flute); Matthew McClung (Percussion); Timothy Peters (Violin); Michael Webster (Clarinet)
  • Conductor: Kevin Noe
  • Running Time: 12 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2005

>Chen, Shih-Hui : Fantasia on the Theme of Plum Blossom, for string quartet
  • Running Time: 15 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2007

>Chen, Shih-Hui : Our Names, for narrator, violin, cello, flute, clarinet, piano & percussion
  • Performers: Brandon Bell (Percussion); Leone Buyse (Flute); Jeanne Fischer (Piano); Coleman Itzkoff (Cello); Ben Odhner (Violin); Michael Webster (Clarinet)
  • Conductor: David Cho
  • Running Time: 13 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2011