About this Recording
8.579028 - JIA, Daqun: Percussion Works (Zhengdao Lu, Stick Game Percussion Ensemble, Gu Feng Percussion Ensemble)

Jia Daqun
Percussion Works


Jia Daqun, senior professor of composition and theory at Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and distinguished Chinese composer and music theorist, enjoys special government allowances of the State Council of China. He was awarded Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees of literature (majoring in composition) from the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, supervised by Prof. Huang Wanpin and Prof. Gao Weijie. He has composed numerous works in various musical styles and has published many articles and books concerning composition and music analysis. His String Quartet (1988) won the twelfth IRINO Prize in Japan (1991) and other compositions, such as Rondo, for Clarinet and Piano (1984), The Dragon and Phoenix Totem, for Pipa and Orchestra (1985), Symphony in Two Movements (1986–87) and Symphonic Prelude – Bashu Capriccio (1996) have been awarded prizes in major Chinese national composition competitions. His work Flavor of Bashu, for two violins, piano and percussion (1995) was named Chinese Classic Musical Composition of the 20th Century by the Chinese government. His article The Counterpoint of the Structures won second prize in the Outstanding Achievements in Humanities and Social Science for Colleges and Universities category issued by the Ministry of Education (2009) and his book Poetics of Musical Structure was the third prize-winner in 2013. His Instruction in Structural Analytics received a silver medal in the Golden Bell Awards for his profound understanding of music theory (2011). Jia Daqun is currently a composition professor and supervisor of doctoral students at Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He is also a vice chairman of the theory council of the Chinese Musicians Association (CMA), administrative vice chairman of Music Analytics of CMA, a member of the Academic Council of the Institute of Musicology at the Central Conservatory of Music (CCOM), and is on the Supervision Board of National Master of Fine Arts Professional Degrees (MFA). His contribution to music theory has been widely recognised and frequently cited in academic research in recent years.

Since the age of thirteen and for eight years thereafter, Jia Daqun studied painting with Prof. Wang Xingyu of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute. Based on his preparative studies in visual arts, he was able to connect some musical concepts such as lines, harmony, timbre and structures with visual plastic arts, which are considered by him to be crucial elements of composition. Known for his workmanship and delicate style, he is widely recognised as one of the most talented composers among those who immersed themselves in structuralism. His works have been played in many cities and at musical festivals including the Yokohama Asian Music Festival, the Berlin Music Festival, the Hong Kong International Contemporary Music Festival, and have received great public and critical acclaim.

Pole (1996)
For solo Chinese gun-gongs, pai-drums and Chinese bass drum, with six percussionists

From 1995 to 1996, Jia Daqun had the chance to visit and work on a research project in the United States as a visiting professor. The huge cultural differences between the US and China and the differing local conditions and customs of California had a profound effect on him, and Pole was composed as a result. The work depicts East–West diversity and attempts to identify a unifying culture between the Orient and Occident through the conflicting—and eventually fusing—media of Chinese traditional percussive instruments and Western percussion.

The Song without Words (1997)
for solo percussion

This piece was commissioned and written especially for the 25th anniversary celebration of diplomatic relations between China and Japan in 1997. The piece consists of three movements. The first movement is entitled Recitative of Octoban, (octobans being deep, small diameter, single head tom-toms often positioned is groups of eight) and demonstrates a variety of interesting and changeable rhythmic combinations. In the central part of the movement, the octoban plays a special line ‘melody’ that is sweet and wave-like, a percussive sprechgesang.

The second movement is called Arias of Gong and Vibraphone, and centres around two pentatonic tunes. These two melodies represent Chinese culture and Japanese culture. The unusual vibrato sound from the vibraphone gives the movement a unique quality.

The third movement is called Sonority of Drums. This movement illustrates ingeniously and meticulously the timbres of different kinds of drum and the evolution of these timbres.

Fittingly, 25 different kinds of percussive instruments are employed in this piece that celebrates the quarter century of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Prologue of Drums (1994)
for Chinese percussion with Chinese wind Instruments

Although this work can be defined as quintessentially Chinese, it is not through the traditional musical methods of form or tone. Rather, the distinct sense of national identity comes from techniques usually applied to Chinese painting, which the composer has musically structured to express his own admiration for Chinese culture. The three techniques identified as being essential parts of Chinese art are points, lines and planes, each of which is represented through an individual musical section in the ABA work, and different percussive medium—be that solo or ensemble.

Sound Games (2000)
for five players of Chinese traditional percussion instruments

This work was commissioned for the musical series entitled Classical Music of China by the Cité de la Musique in Paris, France, in 2000.

The work consists of five movements, and is designed to be performed without a break between them. It showcases the exotic sounds of some of the principal Chinese traditional percussion instruments such as hand cymbals, gongs, ban-drum, muyus (Chinese temple block) and other different drums. By using diverse rhythmic arrangements and colourful sound combinations, the work is saturated with the rich yet elegant folk customs of the composer’s homeland.

Booklet notes compiled from material provided by the composer

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