X Culture

X Culture

Crossing cultural boundaries comes naturally to Xuefei Yang. The Chinese classical guitarist’s repertoire has always been open to music from diverse origins. X Culture (“cross culture”) celebrates the transmission of musical influences across national borders. Anyone looking for a taster should plunge into Se Ela Pergunta, a waltz by the Brazilian guitarist and composer Dilermando Reis woven from the Portuguese modinha and the Afro-Brazilian lundu dance. X Culture opens with Koyunbaba, a four-movement suite in which Italian composer Carlo Domeniconi plays with Turkish themes. It includes the exquisite Hika by Cuban composer Leo Brouwer and Dance of the Orient, an impressionistic miniature written for Yang by Englishman Mark Houghton. The latter, she tells Apple Music, contains “an inspired fusion of Chinese and Western influences.” Koyunbaba, she suggests, is “an intoxicating, mystical fusion of Western and Turkish traditions.” Its title, Turkish for “shepherd,” evokes a remote region of Türkiye apparently blessed with magical properties and tales of a 15th-century shepherd-saint. “Revisiting this piece stirs memories from when I played it at a young age. It really opened my imagination to a new world of sound that the guitar can create.” Her instrument’s darker tones surface in Hika, a heartfelt elegy written in memory of Brouwer’s friend, the Japanese composer Tōru Takemitsu. “Maybe it’s because the inspiration for the piece comes from the East, but I felt an immediate affinity to its sound, its silence and its subtlety of expression.” X Culture closes with Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s haunting composition for Nagisa Ôshima’s eponymous war film. “The movie explores the bridging of cultural divides,” notes Xuefei Yang. “I adapted this piece, perhaps the most iconic theme from its soundtrack, from a guitar arrangement by Hirokazu Sato, and used a seven-string guitar to bring it closer to the sound of the original score.”

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