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Joy and energy in Sunday concert

Elements of dance music from the west and east skip through violinist James Jin and pianist Xing Wang’s programme for their concert at Tairawhiti Museum on Sunday.

Overall, the programme is joyful and energetic, says Jin.

“In our programme this time we have combined Germanic masterpieces that are substantial in length with shorter Chinese pieces that are lighter in character.”

The four movements of 18th century composer Johann Bach’s Partita for solo violin were inspired by baroque dance music.

“People would pick up a guitar and play some rhythms,” says Jin.

“Bach turned them into abstract music. He set up the foundation of Western music. He was the first composer to write music because he wanted to, not because he served a company or church.

“These pieces can’t be danced to because they’re too complicated. He did that to everything he wrote. He wrote long dance movements but used rhythms and motifs he turned into wonderful musical structures.”

Beethoven’s Spring, a sonata for violin and piano is one of the classical/romantic era composer’s more familiar works.

“It has a wonderful, youthful energy and dance elements,” says Jin.

Twentieth century Chinese composer Gang Chen’s Sunshine on Tashkurgan is a folk-inspired work from the western region of China. Sunshine on Tashkurgan shifts through moods that change from atmospheric to dramatic.

“This work is in the western mode of harmonic minor scale,” says Jin.

“The scale has seven notes as in western music.”

This differs from the pentatonic, or five note scale, of Chinese music and folk music from regions such as Hungary.

Chinese works in the programme include Li Zili’s Fisherman’s Harvest Song which portrays the joyful scene of the fisherman’s harvest from the South China Sea.

“Li sounds to most ears more Chinese than the other pieces. I’m trying to show diversity. Both of these styles have wonderful dance elements.”

Violinst James Jin and pianist Xing Wang perform as part of a winter concert series at Tairawhiti Museum on Sunday at 2pm. $5 adults, children and students with ID free.