Films, Audio & Samples
Gao Ping discusses lefTango...Embedded video
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Gao Ping: lefTango - VIDEOEmbedded video
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In January 2013, I underwent a small surgery on my left eye which, for a few days, made playing the piano and reading very inconvenient. It was then I understood what the Chinese proverb "opening one eye while closing the other" meant: an ability not so easy to acquire! Out of sheer boredom, I improvised 'blindly' which slowly hinted at the idea of the piece.
In Chinese, we have "a lone hand can't sound easily"; in English, there is "it takes two to tango". Both idioms suggest imperfection of some sort. The left hand playing alone is restricted and lacks strength, which is certainly 'imperfect'. Yet, the limitation itself can give rise to unique possibilities and even a chance to 'transcend' the difficulty. Crisis overcome can sometimes produce powerful expressions.
The title 'lefTango' plays with double meaning: suggesting the physical limitation of the work on one hand; and echoing the music's haunting, fragmented-memory-like atmosphere on the other. In fact, there seems a strong sense of narrative in the score, causing me to fantasise about it being a sound track for a silent movie.
I dedicate this work to my dear friends in New Zealand, John and Colleen, who are absolute addicts to Tango.
05 Oct 2013: Performed by Gao Ping (piano), 5 October 2013, Hunter Council Chamber, Victoria University of Wellington as part of Journey to the East: Composer Portrait Gao Ping, presented by the Confucius Institute.