Music for violin and piano
by Ma Sicong -
'... thoroughly enjoyable ...'
These lively, appealing and consistently intriguing works -- including two suites, one tone poem and six 'stand alone' items -- are selected from Ma Sicong's output over a period of 46 years; from 1935 to 1981.
For the most part they're based on folk idioms (songs/dances) from multiple regions of Asia; most notably the Chinese provinces, Mongolia, Taiwan and fastnesses of Tibet.
Bear in mind that paradoxically much of Ma Sicong's exuberant work belies a career substantially beset by vilification and exile.
From the initial stirrings of Mao Zedong's 'Cultural Revolution' (1966-1976), Ma's continuing residence and work in Guangdong Province became untenable. He was physically abused by Red Guards. Eventually he was exiled to Hong Kong with his wife/accompanist Wang Muli and family. From there they later moved to America. Ma's unavoidable retreat, after he was accused of betraying the country, caused the deaths of his second eldest brother, his mother-in-law, his niece, and his chef.
Sadly it was not until 1985 that the post-Mao Zedong (1893-1976) Chinese government cleared his name. Two years later, he passed away in the United States from a feral heart attack during an operation to alleviate pneumonia.
Copyright © 4 March 2008
Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand