So, while talking with friends about the concert that I’ve been working on with Dynasty Electric, and how I’ve come to think of it as a way to bring orchestral music into contact with a younger audience, someone brought up the subject of ballet, and what an effort to bring classical ballet to a younger and larger audience might look like, we struck upon the idea of combining classical ballet and wuxia. The wuxia genre finds its most well-known expression in film, represented by the venerable category of the “martial arts film” or more specifically in Chinese culture, the “kung fu film.” Spanning generations, from the original Hong Kong low-budget Shaw Bros. films of the 60’s and 70’s, which have been lovingly referenced more recently by such directors as Quentin Tarantino (Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2) and the Wachowskis (The Matrix Trilogy), through the Ang Lee – directed serious arthouse film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” at the beginning of the 21st century, Wuxia films represent a substantial percentage of the output of China’s film industry, to this day. Kung Fu films have long been a guilty pleasure of mine, so the idea of writing a ballet with such a story line resonated with me greatly. The result, after a few months of work, is “A Faraway Place”.
The excellent Ottawa choir “Pleinchant” performed two of my pieces in their recent Christmas 2014 concert at the Orléans United Church in Orléans. Watch the video after the cut!