Tan Dun | WATER CONCERTO
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What is water?

Sometimes you feel water is the voice of birth, or rebirth. But now I feel water is like tears, tears of nature. Every time I travel around I feel it’s very difficult to find clean water. Everywhere is polluted almost. So it makes me feel difficult to sing with my music…

To me, my early life, living with water, having fun with water, and playing ritualistic music with water, has become very inspiring. Somehow now, I spend so much of my time to recompose this kind of memory…to recompose this kind of experience, with the new method.


In Hunan, water was a daily thing with our life. Every day we washed everything with the river. All the old women, they always went to river for laundry, making a beautiful sound, very rhythmic. So I transpose those memories of beautiful laundry sounds, and swimming sounds, body popping sounds, water dancing sounds, water teasing sounds, water popping sounds, into my orchestrations.


In Water Concerto, a soloist uses bowls, strainers, bottles, and hands in basins of water to make sounds ranging from ethereal and tranquil, to the raucous and thrashing.