China Youth Corps Wind Orchestra

Yeh Shu Han, Conductor

Chao Ching-Wen (b. 1973)Fanfare Athletics
Chong Yew-KwangThe Flying Heart
Chen Shu-SiTongku Saveq
Oliver Messiaen (1908-1992)La ville d'en haut
Pius Haefliger (b. 1961)Chicago Pictures
Nikolai Miaskowsky (1881 1950)Symphony No. 19, Opus 46

Full marks to the China Youth Corps Wind Orchestra conducted by Yeh Shu Han, chair of the Local Organiser Committee, Youth orchestra for covering such a wide range of styles; their programme included Messiaen, jazz and the Miaskowky as well as a first half of Chinese music.The second work was in three movements and I found it especially weak, poorly scored and repetitious and the Chinese half ended with The Flying Heart for tenor soloist, chorus and dancers, effective enough for those who like the wind band as a vehicle for light music, more suitable for a "Pops" night than a conference such as this. Chicago Pictures by Pius Haeflinger held my interest, the slower middle section with interesting harmonic progressions, the fast sections strongly influenced rhythmically by West Side Story, the beginning and end with a raw jazzy feeling and a nice flip ending. It was pleasant to hear the Miaskowsky, but apart from the rather charming waltz movement, I find its material not interesting enough to warrant more than a very occasional revival. I am sure that colleagues will chide me for musical snobbery, but we have no need to travel half way around the world to hear pop music; we do need to be present to hear performances and discussions about significant music which will drag our medium forward.

I have a CD of all of the wind works by Messiaen, but have never had the opportunity to conduct or hear his last two works, one La ville d'en haut which was played very convincingly in this concert.. Later in the week Professor Collen Richardson presented a session on Messiaen; The interaction of Birdsong, Plainchant, Color and Hindu Rhytthms to delineate Form - I missed it but I hear it was fascinating.