Voice, Erhu, Harp: Water Dragon Tune by L. Mark Armanini
About the Music
Jenny Lu, voice
Yun Song, erhu
Lani Krantz, harp
Water Dragon Tune (Excerpts)
Water Dragon Tune is an ongoing collection of Chinese poems set to music. The power of these ancient poems is in the common but intimate experiences being shared between the time they were written (700-1200 AD), and the present. The music, for the most part, is contemplative, as the words are reflected and framed in the sounds, rhythms and unspoken feelings of the instruments, most notably as played by the erhu. The celestial harp adds a sense of the suspension of time and space, drawing the listener closer to the rich sounds of the spoken Mandarin, as if the poet is speaking directly to us from ancient times. – Mark Armanini
(Still Night Thoughts)
Li Bai 李白 (701-762)
Around my bed, so much moonlight
it must be frost upon the ground.
Look up — it’s bright moonlight!
Look down — I miss my hometown.
(An Autumn Night Message to Qiu)
Wei Yingwu 韦应物 (737 – 792)
Under autumn skies, I’m missing you
as I stroll, singing the cool night through,
In empty mountains pine cones fall —
you must still be up too.
3. 相 思
Wang Wei 王维 (701-761)
Red beans grow down south,
Each spring buds appear.
Please pick some for me,
These things are so dear.
4. 永 遇 乐
(Joy of Eternal Union)
Su Shi (1037-1101)
The bright moonlight is frosty white,
the cool breeze blows ripples serene,
endless is the pure night scene.
Fish are leaping in the winding port
and dewdrops roll on lotus leaves
in solitude no one perceives.
Drums beat late into the night,
even a falling leaf sounds loud and clear,
waking me from a somber dream.
In the boundless night
nowhere is she found
though I’ve searched the garden all around.
The weary wanderer is far from home
and mountain roads rise high,
his hometown seen only in his mind’s eye.
The Swallow Pavilion is empty
and where is the beauty who lives there?
Nothing but swallows in the air.
Past and present are both like dreams
from which we never awaken,
nothing remains but former pleasures and new pains.
On some future day people may see
the Yellow Tower’s nighttime scene
and heave a sigh for me!
About the Artists
Jenny Lu (narration) is a teacher and writer. About 16 years ago, she left Beijing and came to Vancouver. She discovered her mission here is to build bridges between East and West; between cultures, literatures, poetry and philosophies. She believes that it is time to find a middle or balanced way between East and West, and Vancouver is the right place for building these bridges. As a Mandarin instructor at UBC, Jenny has been passionate about sharing her love for Chinese language and culture with her students for 13 years. She has elevated her teaching of Mandarin in Vancouver into an art of cross-cultural communication. After class, Jenny enjoys immensely reciting ancient Chinese poems on stage together with wonderful singers and musicians. She believes these poems are philosophies and wisdoms from ancient China and we need to share them with the world. She performed as a narrator/speaker in the “Charm of Poetry, Celebrating the Mid-Autumn” in 2016, in a Canada 150 celebration with BC Chinese Music Ensemble in 2017, and in “Wang Wei’s Poems” in Amsterdam in 2018, among other events. Writing is another way that she finds to build bridges. In 2010, her book Sunshine Over Vancouver was published by the Chinese Writers’ Publishing House. Jenny is currently writing more books telling stories about the cultures of East and West.
Yun Song (erhu) first established herself in China as one of the most prominent erhu performers of her generation. Her extraordinary musical gifts became apparent when, at age 17, she received the First Prize from the Traditional Music Grand Prix organized/hosted by the Ministry of Culture, China. With her brilliant technique and real emotional depth, she won numerous awards, including solo and concerto competitions in Beijing, and annual nation-wide TV string performance competitions in the following years. Yun Song received her formal training with Prof. Mingyuan Liu at China Conservatory of Music. Her teachers also included Prof. Yi Wang, cellists Boyong Xiao and Hui-fen Min, and Prof. Yue Zhang. One of her compositions, “The Memory of Qin”, has been included in the curriculum of China’s music schools. As a cultural exchange scholar, Yun Song performed in Japan, and was invited by Mr. Suzuki Jio, the well-known Director of Gagaku Orchestra in Tokyo, to join the orchestra as a guest soloist. During her stay in Japan, Victory Record Company published a series of albums featuring 300 Japanese folk music pieces played by Yun Song on erhu, which were very popular both in Japan and internationally.
Lani Krantz (harp) is Principal Harpist with the Vancouver Island Symphony, and plays on-call with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Vancouver Opera. She has performed with artists such as; Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, Johnny Mathis, Carly Rae Jepsen and more. As an orchestra soloist, Lani has performed the Mozart Concerto with Lionsgate Sinfonia and flutist, Carol Dymond and in 2019, William Alwyn’s beautiful Lyra Angelica for harp and string orchestra with the Vancouver Island Symphony. Lani is a member of the acclaimed ensemble Winter Harp and in 2019 added the role of their Assistant Producer. Lani’s collaboration with Erhu player Jun Rong and composer Jin Zhang has been showcased in many events; most notably, the Sound of Dragon Festival and the 2011 World Harp Congress. Lani is heard on the soundtracks for Space Buddies, Super Buddies, the Canadian attraction Fly over Canada and on singer Appollonia Vanova’s CD, Lullabies. Lani is a harp instructor at the Vancouver Symphony School of Music and is currently Secretary of the WCHS/BC Chapter of the American Harp Society. In 2016 she added ‘Mom’ to her list of titles and is excitedly joining her little boy on his own musical journey! www.lanikrantz.com
L. Mark Armanini (composer) ( b. 1952), a native Vancouverite, studied with Elliot Weisgarber and Robert Rodgers at the University of British Columbia , graduating with a MMus. in 1984. Mark began composing for various intercultural combinations in 1990. Major works included concerti recorded with the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic and Qiu Xia He (pipa soloist) in 1995 (album title: The Spirit Emerges) and with the Latvian National Symphony in 2003 (album title: Rain in the Forest) featuring Vivian Xia (yangqin), Heidi Krutzen (harp), Khac Chi and Bic Hoang (dan baus), all conducted by John Zoltek.
In 2015 Mark produced Fingertips to Freedom, an improvised piano concerto with Paul Plimley in Prague. In November 2018 he travelled to Hanoi for the third Asia Europe Music Festival where his piece Dance of Many Colours was given its Vietnamese premiere by Bic Hoang. In 2019 Mark attended the Voix Etouffees European Festival in Brussels where his piece …of Wind and Water was performed by Qiu Xia He (pipa) and the Selini Quartet.
Mark is presently the Artistic Director of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, and an associate of the BC Chinese Music Ensemble. He is also a faculty member at Capilano University.
Video Production Credits
Videography – Alistair Eagle, assisted by Don Xaliman & Camillia Frey
Audio Engineer & Mix – Sheldon Zaharko
Calligraphy – Qishi
Poetry translation – Dr. Jan Walls
Images courtesy of Jenny Lu
Filmed and recorded on June 8, 2021 in the Historic Theatre at The Cultch, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
For the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra:
Artistic Director & Producer – Mark Armanini
Composer-in-Residence & Senior Project Manager – Farshid Samandari
Production Manager & Communications – Melanie Thompson
Marketing & Production Assistant – Gina Hernandez Sanchez
Operations Manager – Devni De Silva
View the whole Global Soundscapes Festival: Digital Edition 2021 programme.
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