As part of Chamber Music New Zealand’s Encompass Series, we’ll be performing five concerts across the country between 27 April and 5 May. Each concert will include the late New Zealand composer Jack Body’s piece Bai Sanxian. First written in 2009, the inspiration for this work came from the ‘jazzy’ traditional music performed on the sanxian, a three-stringed plucked instrument, by the Bai people in the Yunnan province of South-West China. Hearing the field recording that Professor Zhang Xingrong of the Yunnan Fine Arts Institute had taken of the Bai people’s music, Jack composed Bai Sanxian as a transcription. The Bai people are one of 56 ethnic minorities officially recognised by the People’s Republic of China, with a population of around two million. The music and cultures of Asia fascinated Jack and he became a strong voice in introducing China’s multi-faceted musical culture to New Zealand – as well as New Zealand music to China. As a former colleague at the New Zealand School of music, Jack's work holds special significance for us. The music’s lively rhythms are both plucked and bowed, creating a piece that is a delight to both perform and hear.
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