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What does it sound like when Italian Renaissance music is played on classical Chinese instruments – and conversely, how do the traditional Chinese pentatonic melodies transform on European viols?

lautten compagney BERLIN welcomes five outstanding musicians from Shanghai, Taipeh, Taichung, and Nanjing for a joint exploration of classical Chinese music and contemporary poetry in dialogue with the Humboldt Forum. The programme is inspired by scroll paintings from the Museum für Asiatische Kunst and the current special exhibition To Boldly Go Where No Painter Has Gone Before. It explores the musical exchange between China and Europe during the late Renaissance, in the transition from the Ming to the Qing dynasty. Jesuits from Venice, Milan and Rome sought early contact with China. This is exemplified by the life story of the Milanese painter Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766), who became court painter to three Chinese emperors under the name Láng Shìníng and fused the painting styles of Europe and China. In this concert, the lautten compagney and the Chinese musicians will embark on a search for a musical equivalent.

On the one hand, the programme is dedicated to the tradition of Chinese court music and the Jesuit-influenced Renaissance music of Italy, but it also raises the question of which colonial aspects can be seen in the Jesuit missionary journeys and the politics of the Chinese emperors in the follow-up discussion with the artists and the audience. What role did music and poetry play in power politics? And what could this mean for the present day? The programme is therefore linked to poems by the contemporary poet Zheng Xiaoqiong, who, as a migrant worker, reports from the economic superpower China and from everyday life on the assembly line, but in her poems from the metal factories always invokes the beauty of Chinese poetry and music as an antidote: “time, a grey iron bird, flies against the window, / like a distant memory, the moon now creeps into the room.”



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Trailer Musical Belongings II
Aufführung Musical Belongings II: lautten compagney BERLIN trifft indigene Musik aus Lateinamerika
© Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss / Foto: Robert Paul Kothe



春江花⽉夜 / A Moonlit Night on the Spring River – Sui Dynasty, 605-617 A.D.

⻋间 / Workshop – Zheng Xiaoqiong (*1981)

平沙落雁 / Wild Geese Descending on the Sandbank – Guqin solo, Ming Dynasty, 14th cent.

Dolcissimi mio ben – Andrea Gabrieli (1533-1585)

Ostinato vo seguire – Bartolomeo Tromboncino (1470-1535)

阳关三叠 / Farewell at Yangguan – Tang Dynasty, 8th cent., Arr. Bo Wiget

剧 / Drama – Zheng Xiaoqiong

Documentary about poet Zheng Xiaoqiong



Italian Rant – John Playford (1623-1686), Arr. Bo Wiget

流⽔线 / The Assembly Line – Zheng Xiaoqiong

夜思/ Quiet Night Thought – Li Bai – Tan Dynasty, 8th cent.

Fantasia – Andrea Falconieri (1585-1656)

Il dolce sonno – Andrea Gabrieli

Bicinium – Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594)

O vin en vigne – Orlando di Lasso

痛 / Ouch – Zheng Xiaoqiong

Voi sete bella – Andrea Falconieri

Maria zart – Ludwig Senfl (1490-1543)

Im Meyen – Ludwig Senfl

拆 / Dismantle – Zheng Xiaoqiong

Che si puo fare – Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677), Arr. Bo Wiget

藍天⽩雲綠草 / Blue sky, white clouds, green grassland – Xu Fengxia, based on an old Mongolian folk song, Arr. Bo Wiget

蓝/ Blue – Zheng Xiaoqiong

與賽⾺ / Horse Racing – Huang Haihuai (1935-1967), Arr. Bo Wiget



⼯业时代 / Industrial Age – Zheng Xiaoqiong

Dolci sospiri – Andrea Falconieri

Begli occhi – Andrea Falconieri

Non più d’amore / Se ben rose celesti – Andrea Falconieri

铁⻦/ Iron bird – Zheng Xiaoqiong

Battalia – Ignaz Franz Biber (1644-1704)

Das liederliche Schwirmen der Musquetier | Mars | Die Schlacht | Lamento der Verwundeten

⾦蛇狂舞/ Dragon Dance – Nie Er (1912-1935), based on an old dance from the Han Dynasty (100 B.C.)

Duration: ca. 90 min, no intermission



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