Silenced but not silent (1)

Posted by: ABC Vermonter

Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/12/13 11:14 PM

Hi,

I have been very interested in learning, performing, and sharing worthy but silenced music. This desire emerged after reading conductor James Conlon’s essay, titled “Recovering a Musical Heritage: The Music Suppressed by the Third Reich.” In this essay, he mentioned that he programs works by suppressed composers wherever possible. I particularly like one thing he said: “by keeping alive their music…, we deny those past regimes a posthumous victory.”

I now present the first installment of my silenced music series, Maggio Suite (1935) by 江文也 (translated as Bunya Koh in Japan, Wen-Yeh Chiang in Taiwan, and Wen-Ye Jiang in China). This music, to my ears, is unlike any piece of music I have heard. Hope you like it as well.

This composition has 3 pieces, each about 2 minutes:
I. Supperisco
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6d3pd13D-3U
II. A Mezzanotte
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jj3FiMz_u0
III. A Mezzogiorno
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFiXYo4Gch0

The composer was jailed and sent to labor camp by the right-wing nationalist government and the left-wing communist government in China. His music had been banned for 4 decades. An introduction about the tragic life of this almost unknown composer can be found in the following Wikipedia page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiang_Wen-Ye

Although learning standard repertoire is important to me at this age, I will try my best to work on my second silenced piece soon. If you have a suppressed piece that you think is musically satisfying, I would love to learn and share the music. Thank you for your suggestions.

Another favor that I would like to ask from you is that if you think anyone else may be interested in this music, please spread the words to keep the music alive and grows.
Posted by: DanS

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/12/13 11:52 PM

Interesting stuff. I like the third one the best.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/13/13 12:22 AM

I like it too. My favourite is probably No.1 (from a musical point of view, although I realize it is the saddest).
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/13/13 12:33 AM

I liked all three.

The performance was also very fine.

And I've PMed you ABC! wink
Posted by: ABC Vermonter

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/13/13 01:31 PM

Hi DanS, ChopinAddict, and Nikolas,

Thank you very much. I am very happy that the music has an audience.
Posted by: woodog

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/13/13 03:31 PM

Very nice! (style, heritage, backstory, playing!)
I enjoyed all three.

Please post more from this composer!

Forrest
Posted by: rada

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/13/13 03:38 PM

I have to say it is not music to my ears but you are obviously a skilled pianist. Good luck!

rada
Posted by: ABC Vermonter

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/13/13 03:54 PM

Originally Posted By: rada
I have to say it is not music to my ears but you are obviously a skilled pianist. Good luck!

rada


Hi rada,

Thank you for giving it a try.
Posted by: ABC Vermonter

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/13/13 03:56 PM

Originally Posted By: woodog


Please post more from this composer!

Forrest


Hi Forrest,

I will surely do so. smile
Posted by: ABC Vermonter

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/14/13 07:55 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
I liked all three.

The performance was also very fine.

And I've PMed you ABC! wink


Hi Nikolas,

I am not quite sure whether you receive my reply; I am not quite sure about how PM works. In case you did not get the info, it is here.

The music, I beleive, was published in Japan, China, and Taiwan. My version is the one from Taiwan, titled "Jiang Wen-Ye Piano Works, Volume 1." ISBN number is 978-957-561-284-9. This volume is publshied by Mercury Publish Co. They have a website: www. Mercury-publish.com.tw. The following link directly leads to the sheet music:

http://www.mercury-publish.com.tw/index....5&PID=M8210

I think inter-library loan through a big library is the way to go.
Posted by: JessicaB

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/16/13 12:25 AM

Thank you for sharing this. It is really quite interesting music.

Are you primarily focusing on Asian composers? It seems that more has been done with European composers and compositions that were lost in that era. I love that you picked these compositions. I would love to hear more about your project.

Amazing really.
Posted by: btb

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/16/13 01:33 AM

So the Chinese now ban a countryman’s piano work for 4 decades ... presumably protecting the ears of the public at large ... more likely the bureaucratic State wielding the iron-hand.

But harking back ... some of us can still remember WWII ... when Hitler’s gangsters banned the airing of Mendelssohn’s music ...
because he had a Jewish grandmother!!

It was interesting to hear the first 2 minute piece when the Asian pianist dramatically coaxes out the range of sound of a Steinway? piano ... (there seems to be a cunning gadget under the piano for wheeling the giant Grand onto the stage).

However, it takes time for Western ears to appreciate the Eastern tang.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/16/13 02:06 AM

Thank you for sharing!
Posted by: LoPresti

Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/16/13 02:20 AM

Thank you, Vermonter,

Those movements are very engaging indeed! If that is you performing, then all the more praise is very well deserved. They are played most convincingly, which is essential for that level of dissonance.

I understand the references to midnight and to noon, on a day sometime in May. From the score, do you have any idea what the composer intended by "Supperisco"? (Hopefully NOT suppertime!)

Ed
Posted by: ABC Vermonter

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/16/13 08:22 PM

Originally Posted By: JessicaB


Are you primarily focusing on Asian composers?


Hi JessicaB,

Thank you for asking this question. No,I am interested in suppressed music of any nationality. For example, Armenia had its dark days. I would love to learn something by Armenia composers. It is just that I have no knowledge about its music and composers at this time being.

The reason that I started with the Maggio Suite by Koh/Chiang/Jiang is that the composer and I have the same Chinese last name; we both belong to the same minority group; and, our family and the composer's family followed the same path of migration from central China to Taiwan over many centuries. I almost felt that we could be related. That kind of stikes a cord with me.
Posted by: ABC Vermonter

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/16/13 08:31 PM

Originally Posted By: btb
So the Chinese now ban a countryman’s piano work for 4 decades


The music was banned roughly from 1950 to 1990 in Taiwan. If someone played this music during Cultural Revolution in China, that person could be gone by the next day. The composer's works after 1950 are almost all nationalistic (Chinese) music that can serves "the people"; it was the only way the composer could keep his life in the labor camp.
Posted by: ABC Vermonter

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/16/13 08:33 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Thank you for sharing!


Thank you for listening.
Posted by: ABC Vermonter

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/16/13 08:44 PM

Originally Posted By: LoPresti
If that is you performing, then


Not quite sure about what you meant. smile
Posted by: ABC Vermonter

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/16/13 08:52 PM

Originally Posted By: LoPresti
From the score, do you have any idea what the composer intended by "Supperisco"? (Hopefully NOT suppertime!)

Ed


I do not know what exactly the composer intended by supperisco. The composer's first language is Japanese. He started to learn Chinese many years after he composed this work. smile

The composer did provide a Japanese title, in addition to Supperisco, to the first piece of the work. The title means "anticipating/foreseeing something coming."
Posted by: LoPresti

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/22/13 12:34 AM

Originally Posted By: ABC Vermonter
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
From the score, do you have any idea what the composer intended by "Supperisco"? (Hopefully NOT suppertime!)


I do not know what exactly the composer intended by supperisco. The composer's first language is Japanese. He started to learn Chinese many years after he composed this work. . . . The composer did provide a Japanese title, in addition to Supperisco, to the first piece of the work. The title means "anticipating/foreseeing something coming."

Ah-ha! Got it!

While it may have minimal importance to the music itself, and while this composer is Japanese, he was obviously attempting Italian.

“Maggio” Suite = the month of May
“Mezzanotte” = midnight
“Mezzogiorno” = noon

"Supperisco" – thanks to your additional explanation, this concatenation/abbreviation of two words: "Su” + “periscopo" = "Su periscopo . . . " = “Up periscope . . . ”

It is a good thing this was written prior to 1941, or his “Up periscope” could have had a very inflammatory connotation in America.

Ed
Posted by: btb

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/22/13 03:30 AM

My story tells of someone "Silenced but not silent"


A Survivor from Warsaw by Arnold Schoenberg Opus 46
for Narrator, Mens Chorus and Orchestra

“I cannot remember ev’rything! I must have been unconscious (most) of the time ...!
I remember only the grandiose moment when they all started to sing, as if prearranged,
the old prayer they had neglected for so many year ... the forgotten creed!

But I have no recollection how I got underground to live in the sewers of Warsaw
for so long a time ... The day began as usual. Reveille when it still was dark.
“Get out!” Whether you slept or whether worries kept you awake the whole night.
You had been separated from your children, from your wife, from your parents.
You don’t know what happened to them ... How could you sleep?

The trumpets again. “Get out! The sergeant will be furious!”
They came out, some very slowly, the old ones, the sick ones,
some with nervous agility. They fear the sergeant.
They hurry as much as they can. In vain!
Much too much noise, much too much commotion!
And not fast enough!

The Feldwebel shouts! “Achtung! Still jestanden! Na wind’smal, oder soll ich mit dem Jewehrkoldben nachhelfen? Na jut, wenn ihr’s durchaus haben wollt!”

The sergeant and his subordinates hit everyone, young or old, strong or sick, guilty or innocent . It was painful to hear them groaning and moaning.

I heard it though I had been hit very hard, so hard that I could not help falling down.
We all on the ground who could not stand up were then beaten over the head ...
I must have been unconscious. The next thing I heard was a soldier saying,
“They are all dead!” Whereupon the sergeant ordered to do away with us.

There I lay aside half conscious. It had become very still — fear and pain. —
Then I heard the sergeant shouting, “Abzahlen!”
They started slowly, and irregularly one, two, three, four; “Achtung!”
The sergeant shouted again, “Rascher! Nochmal von vorn anfangen!
In eine Minute will ich wissen wiebiele ich zur Gaskammer abliefere! Abzahlen!”

They began again, first slowly, one --- two — three — four,
became faster and faster; so fast ---- that it finally sounded like a stampede -
of wild horses, and all of a sudden, in the middle of it, they began singing the

Sh’ma Sh’ma Yi-ro-el A-do-noy — elohenoo A-do-noy e-hod V-o-hav-to —
es Ado-noy e-lo-he-ho b-hol l-vov-ho oov-hol nafah - ho oo-v-hol mo-de-ho V-ho-yoo — hadd voreem ho-el-leh a-sher o-no-hee m-taav-v-ho hayyom al l-vo-ve-ho
Vshin-nan-tom l-vo-ne-ho v dibbarto bom b shivt-ho b-ve-te-ho oov leh-t-ho badde -
- -reh oov shoh-b-ho oov-koome-ho.”

Please forgive any inadvertent mistakes in copying the Jewish prayer ... wish I could
understand the words.
Posted by: ABC Vermonter

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/22/13 11:04 PM

Hi btb,

Thanks for bringing up Schoenberg Op. 46. I knew nothing about this piece. I went to youtube and watched a live performance of it. It is a really powerful piece. IMO, the poem should a part of our high school humanities cirriculum.
Posted by: ABC Vermonter

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/22/13 11:18 PM

Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Originally Posted By: ABC Vermonter
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
From the score, do you have any idea what the composer intended by "Supperisco"? (Hopefully NOT suppertime!)


I do not know what exactly the composer intended by supperisco. The composer's first language is Japanese. He started to learn Chinese many years after he composed this work. . . . The composer did provide a Japanese title, in addition to Supperisco, to the first piece of the work. The title means "anticipating/foreseeing something coming."

Ah-ha! Got it!

While it may have minimal importance to the music itself, and while this composer is Japanese, he was obviously attempting Italian.

“Maggio” Suite = the month of May
“Mezzanotte” = midnight
“Mezzogiorno” = noon

"Supperisco" – thanks to your additional explanation, this concatenation/abbreviation of two words: "Su” + “periscopo" = "Su periscopo . . . " = “Up periscope . . . ”

It is a good thing this was written prior to 1941, or his “Up periscope” could have had a very inflammatory connotation in America.

Ed


Haha! I bet the composer earned an F (efforts) for his Italian.

This also reminds me Beethoven and his sometimes poor use of Italian. For example, it is not entirely clear about Beethoven's intention toward the "allegro assai" for the 1st movement of Op. 53. As a result, some pianists (e.g., Schnabel and Gulda) play it faster than allegro, while some play it slower than allegro (e.g., Barenboim and C. Rosen).
Posted by: LoPresti

Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/23/13 01:07 AM

"very much Allegro"! Perhaps Poor Ludwig was learning his Italian from a dictionary, starting from the front, and had not yet gotten to presto or vivace ?
Posted by: Jeff Clef

Re: Silenced but not silent (1) - 01/23/13 01:18 PM

I thought 'Supperisco' meant 'super risque.' Or, possibly, 'supper in San Francisco.' (There are places in North Beach where it could mean both at the same time.)