In Memories in Watercolors, the versatile players of Camarada will employ pure, shimmering tones of the flute, cascading piano rivulets, and a wide range of string quartet sonorities, from delicate to wild, revealing a kindred musical essence.
In China, watercolor painting has been a dominant art form since ancient times. Watercolors can be magically translucent and luminous. In Memories in Watercolors, the versatile players of Camarada will employ pure, shimmering tones of the flute, cascading piano rivulets, and a wide range of string quartet sonorities, from delicate to wild, revealing a kindred musical essence in the works of Tan Dun, Yuko Uebayashi, Chen Yi, Bright Sheng, and Maurice Ravel.
Tan Dun's first piano piece, Eight Memories in Watercolors, arose from homesickness the composer experienced while studying at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. This highly personal and evocative music harkens back to the folksongs and cherished remembrances of his childhood in Hunan. Some slight revisions were made in 2001, in accordance with suggestions from influential pianist Lang Lang, who premiered Eight Memories in Watercolors in his concerts.
Japanese composer Yuko Uebayashi takes inspiration from musicians performing outside of Japanese tradition. Flautist Jean Ferrandis calls her compositions "gems that, although they are so different, they yet belong to the same world...For me these works are a precious gift." Camarada offers listeners the precious gift of Uebayashi's Misericordia for Flute and String Quartet.
When China's Cultural Revolution began in 1966, musical prodigy Chen Yi endured separation from her family. Even while forced to labor in the countryside, she continued to practice in secrecy, stuffing blankets inside her piano and muting her violin. She also educated herself on Chinese folk culture. Today she is a respected educator and composer with numerous orchestral works to her credit, and many contributions to choral chamber music repertoire, including some written for traditional Chinese instruments. In Chen's plaintive Memory, a single violin expresses her deep sorrow for the loss of a fatherly musical mentor.
The Sharpa are a small ethnic group living mostly in the mountain country of Western Nepal. They are rugged mountaineers, many working as guides for expeditions, including death-defying treks up Mount Everest. Love songs, drinking songs and dance all play an important part in Sharpa folk culture.
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