Mu­si­cian Tan Dun will un­veil his an­i­mated film at a Bei­jing con­cert. He ex­plains his con­cept to Chen Jie.

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

Tan Dun is in­deed iconic as a Chi­nese mu­si­cian who’s full of pas­sion and imag­i­na­tion, who pioneers in­no­va­tion to con­jure con­tem­po­rary au­di­ences’ fas­ci­na­tion with classical mu­sic.

He uses un­con­ven­tional ma­te­ri­als — water, pa­per and wind — to cre­ate what he calls “or­ganic mu­sic”. He cre­ates along­side mu­si­cians across­myr­iad gen­res. And now, he’s mak­ing a movie. Sym­phonic Poem on Three Notes is his an­i­mated film, star­ring the three notes La, Si and Do as three peo­ple who oc­cupy a world in which five-line staves form streets and sky­scrapers.

The plot cen­ters on how peo­ple pro­tect their homes when the en­vi­ron­ment has been de­stroyed.

It will show at a con­cert at the Na­tional Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts on Sun­day.

Tan will con­duct the Na­tional Sym­phony of China to play the film’s sound­track live.

The first half will in­clude an­i­mated films fea­tur­ing great mu­sic.

The open­ing is English com­poser Ben­jamin Brit­ten’s orches­tral suite The Sea. The 22-minute piece, which is also called a sym­phonic-tone poem, con­sists of four move­ments: Seas­cape, Sea Foam, Moon­light and Storm.

Tan com­mis­sioned Cen­tral Academy of Fine Arts stu­dents to cre­ate an an­i­mated film to Brit­ten’s mu­sic.

“I dis­cussed with these young artists how to por­tray the sea on a sum­mer morn­ing, the rocks and pools on the shore, a calm sea at night and a rain­storm on the sea. Their fi­nal pro­duc­tion re­ally im­pressed me,” Tan tells China Daily dur­ing a phone in­ter­view.

Af­ter Tan’s movie Sym­phonic Poem on Three Notes, the first half will end with an­other movie fea­tur­ing pa­per-cut­ting, cre­ated by Chi­nese artist Wu Jian’an. The sound­track will be renowned Ja­panese com­poser Toru Takemitsu’s vi­ola con­certo A String Around Au­tumn.

This year marks the 20th an­niver­sary of Takemitsu’s pass­ing. Tan says he chose his movie’s mu­sic to com­mem­o­rate the Ja­panese mae­stro.

“I lis­tened to Takemitsu’s mu­sic when I stud­ied at the Cen­tral Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic in Bei­jing in the early 1980s. Af­ter I went to New York, we be­came friends, and I learned much about mod­ern mu­sic from him. He com­posed for many great Ja­panese movies. Peo­ple usu­ally know and re­mem­ber the di­rec­tors and ac­tors but ne­glect the com­poser,” says Tan.

“A movie could not with­out good mu­sic.”

In ad­di­tion to the vi­ola con­certo, au­di­ences will ex­pe­ri­ence three more pieces by Takemitsu in the sec­ond half. They are se­lected from the movies Black Rain, The Face of An­other and Jose Tor­res.

The sec­ond half will con­sist of mu­sic for fea­ture films, in­clud­ing Mem­o­ries of A Geisha, Lib­er­ta­dor, Night Ban­quet and Ang Lee’s Crouch­ing Tiger, Hid­den Dragon, for which Tan won the Os­car for best mu­sic in 2001.

The con­cert will also in­clude the theme song of Chi­nese di­rec­tor Feng Xiao­gang’s new film I’m not Madame Bo­vary, which will hit cin­e­mas in Novem­ber. Chi­nese com­poser Du Wei cre­ates the score. be great

The Venezue­lan movie Lib­er­ta­dor (2013) tells the story of Simon Bo­li­var.

Cel­e­brated Venezue­lan con­duc­tor Gus­tavo Du­damel com­posed the mu­sic.

“Du­damel is known as a con­duc­tor, but ac­tu­ally many con­duc­tors are great com­posers, too,” says Tan.

“I my­self first was a com­poser but now also try to con­duct ... Com­posers, such as Mahler, Brit­ten and Bern­stein, in­spired me to take the ba­ton.”

The con­cert’s pur­pose is to “in­vent a new way to ap­pre­ci­ate classical mu­sic”.

“Movies or vis­ual art are good gen­res that help peo­ple who like tra­di­tional classical ap­pre­ci­ate mod­ern mu­sic, while help­ing peo­ple who like mod­ern mu­sic, such as movie soundtracks, en­joy classical mu­sic,” he ex­plains.

“I be­lieve the sym­phony could be­come a trendy force to lead so­ci­ety, to lead the­wave of cul­ture, like Beethoven and Mozart did hun­dreds of years ago.”

Con­tact the writer at chen­jie@chi­

A movie could not be great with­out good mu­sic.”

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