• chrisdumigan

Tan Tuan Hao : Through The Fences, The Light Falls



Tan Tuan Hao

Bergmann Edition: 8 pages


This Singapore – born composer, has here written a guitar piece that crosses over several boundaries. Just a glance at the pages tells you of the huge complexity in his writings. Time and again the speed instruction of Quasi Senza Tempo mixed with such a complicated mix of rhythms tells you that the page is only really a guideline to the actual sound he wants to achieve, and the recording by Peter Oldrup , who receives the dedication for the piece only underlines this fact, as for a great deal of the time the music is almost arrhythmic, but hugely difficult to read and play at the same time.

The opening has a tremolo on a high A before a two – voiced melody enters that dives relentlessly up and down the fingerboard. After these first 25 bars, the music gradually increases in complexity as artificial harmonics mixed with percussive Bartok pizzicati and almost frenetic small notes runs all intermingle. At the next section (where the Quasi Senza Tempo) commences, there are 7 tempo changes in 18 bars of music, after which there are constant changes in rhythms, styles, and technical aspects of playing for the remainder of the piece.

I have not seen anything like this piece in all my years of reviewing, and so describing how it looks and sounds is an almost pointless exercise, unless you can look and hear it for yourselves. Therefore if something utterly unusual, modern and extremely tricky to play might be something you’re interested in, then give it a try.


Chris Dumigan

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