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The ceremony of `Summoning the Soul’ is a Chinese tradition that has lasted thousands of years and is still a special and important event in some regions of China today.
The tradition is based on the belief that to be at peace the body and the soul of a family member must be brought home. If a member of a Chinese family dies in a distant place, the other members of his or her family have the responsibility to go to that place to bring their loved one home. When they arrive they must hold a ceremony to summon the soul and guide it back to its home. Many Chinese believe that a soul left in a distant place may be lost in the wilderness forever.
This piece is in two sections; these don’t depict the process of the summoning, but are a personal reflection on this tradition.
13 May 2007: Performed by the Karlheinz Company cond. John Elmsley; Music Theatre, University of Auckland, Auckland