I’m really enjoying the chinese folk songs we’re doing. For example Molihua, Pastorale, “Prise Eight Horse” (in which to my delight I’ve been given a throat singing solo!), and even the more propaganda-like “Motherland” and “Joys of the Torch Festival”. Its been really fantastic working with Zhou Zhiwei and Cao Ying (the vocal coaches) on pronunciation and performance practice. Although we looked at them before we came out, it seems with the direction of Zhu Buxi they seemed to come alive with expression and interest. A particular favourite is “Driving Livestock” which has some beautiful contrapuntal writing and lovely chordal texture against an evocative bass line evoking the ringing of a donkey’s bell.
Out of this came the idea that me and Jon Hughes (a tenor with a long lived interest in English folk music with whom I’ve been sharing a room) thought of getting some singers together to sing some old Scottish folk arrangements I had written for an amateur choir. With some animated discussion, we decided it would be fun to have some sort of cultural exchange with our vocal coaches, so I have been arranging the song “The Turtle Dove”, as introduced to me by Jon (see the recording below) including tenor and soprano solos for Zhou Zhiwei and Cao Ying. It’s proving a fun collaboration and we’ve got some great singers on board! Hopefully we’ll have some fun with this.
Recording of Jon singing “The Turtle Dove”
Update – I completed my arrangement of “The Turtle Dove”. In true Edd fashion though I pitched it a little too difficult for the members to sight-read, so it was never tried. Here is a picture of the first page – if you’re interested in performing it then please get in contact!
Contributed by Edd Caine