skip to content

Faculty of Music

Jiang Tcheng Tse, a choral-orchestral work composed by Qigang Chen in 2017, is based on Su Shi’s (蘇軾, 1037-1101) mourning poem Jiang Cheng Zi: Yi Mao Zheng Yue Er Shi Ri Jimeng (江城子·乙卯正月二十日夜記夢a riverside town: dreaming of my deceased wife on the 20th night of the 1st lunar month. After its world premiere in UK, critics pronounced it “irresistibly affecting as a whole” and wrote of an atmosphere of “mystery and reverence”. This talk explores how Chen’s musical setting extrapolates from the poem’s humanism and rhetoric, thereby transcending the linguistic meaning of the texts. The musical expansion within Chen’s composition is not only an expression of sentimentality, but a reference to philosophical thoughts of life-and-death, singing out the emotional self beyond a life / death duality, highlighting the eternally precious value of life. What is perhaps most evident in the work is Chen’s virtuosic writing for modern instruments, which gestates in vocal writing but feeds back vocal thinking in turn, bestowing a new perspective on the oldest lyrical function of music. Yin-Yun (氤氲), obviously recognizable aural mimesis in Jiang Tcheng Tse, is a typical sonic expression of Chinese philosophy of Qi(), which triggers what I call an Aura-of-Sonority (響暈), namely an aesthetic term with explicit implications for Chen’s sonic juxtapositions.
Sun Yue is a musicologist and pianist, currently Associate Professor in music and director of postgraduate studies at Shanghai Conservatory of music. She earned her PhD in musicology at Shanghai Conservatory in 2012. She is member of International Musicological Society (IMS) and International Association for Aesthetics (IAA). She has written widely on music, from J.S. Bach to Qigang Chen, but is particularly known for her work on music and philosophy, history of music aesthetics, and the intersection between music and architecture. Her monograph Metaphysical Research on the Existence of Musical Meaning and The Truth Setting itself into Artwork (2021) is a theoretical exploration that combines Martin Heidegger's existential philosophy with music aesthetics in China. She is also executive chief editor of Music Orthodoxy while Sounding harmonious: A Collection of Commissioned Commentaries on Music by Wenhui Daily (2022). Her other interests include Christian aesthetics and Chinese indigenization of sacred music. As a translator, she has introduced recent work in philosophy and aesthetics to Chinese core music journals, such as Daniel Chua’s article Beethoven Going Blank and his keynote speech Is Music Joy? Retrofitting Ancient Music. She also co-translated Kathleen Higgins’s keynote speech Schopenhauer's Music Aesthetics and Nietzsche’s Alternative. Her most recent project is a study on J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, from its pre-history to modern interpretations and creative remixes.
Wednesday, 14 February, 2024 - 17:00