Review: Wu Man with the Bochum Symphony Orchestra
By Antje Grajetzky
Excerpt translated from German
The violin has been around for about 500 years. The Pipa, on the other hand, also belongs to the family heard of the lute is much older and has a history of being treasured more than 2000 years. Little known in this country, the Pipa stood on three evenings in the focus of the Bochum Symphony Orchestra in the Anneliese Brost Music Forum. To guest was the Chinese pipa player Wu Man, a grandmaster on her instrument, which is in demand on concert stages all over the world.
The musician was with a large orchestra to experience on Saturday evening. Under the direction of General Music Director Tung-Chieh Chuang played the symphony the “Concerto for Pipa and Orchestra No. 2” by Jiping Zhao.
The pipa is fascinating: it has a pear-shaped shape body, a short neck, four strings and up to 30 frets. In contrast to Guitar strings are turned inside out and plucked outside. To do this, Wu Man prepares her right hand with artificial fingernails.
The music for pipa is closely related to the intonation of Mandarin. Also the European violin is said to be related to the human voice. The charismatic Wu Man is an ambassador of her instrument and of Chinese music. Jiping Zhao’s pipa concerto begins with a change between strings and pipa and culminates in a film music widescreen sound. The symphonic orchestra made great Chinese cinema for the ears with joy of playing – and Wu Man fascinated with tremendous virtuosity. The solo concert was flanked by two symphonies by Joseph Haydn: No. 92 G major “Oxford” and No. 82 C major “Der Bear”. Haydn is credited with inventing the symphony and also the string quartet, both general for the European Classic par excellence. So Tung-Chieh Chuang emphasized what Haydn points to the future of music history, such as composers like Mozart and Beethoven. The newly cultivated string sound was particularly noteworthy the symphonist.