Buy from
Celestial Harmonies
US $15

the project

The Music of Vietnam Volume 2 presents the carefully preserved music of the Vietnamese Imperial Palace and Court, recorded in Hue. As opposed to Volumes 1.1 and 1.2 of the Music of Vietnam series, which encompass the traditional music of the Vietnamese people, Volume 2 captures the essence of Vietnamese Imperial culture, now an honored component of the country's rich and colorful history.

These songs which accompanied ceremonial, congratulatory and interpretive dances, paint a fascinating picture of the ancient culture of which they are a part. The words of the songs praise offerings to Buddha, wish a harmonious life to an Imperial bride and groom, or celebrate the courageous actions of two legendary heroines. Though the words (many of which are translated in the liner notes) may not be understood by every listener, to hear the music is enough to conjure up beautiful images of costumed dancers holding lotus-shaped lanterns. One can almost see the dragon and the tiger which meet in the Tu Linh Dance, or imagine the female heroines in war dress: protective vests and armored trousers, swords in hand.

Each of the pieces included in the recording posesses a symbolic meaning developed over a thousand years, influenced by many dynasties. The Imperial music of Volume 2 represents a part of the country's history as integral as the music of the people contained in Volumes 1.1 and 1.2.

the artists

This recording features the performance of the Hue Traditional Art Troupe. Artistic direction of the troupe and of this recording is provided by the group's leader, La Thi Cam Van. The troupe has existed formally since 1899 under various names, but existed long before the turn of the century in the form of the official court troupe. The Hue Traditional Art Troupe's setting in the old city of Hue is of great significance, as Hue was the last capital of the Vietnamese feudalist state. Parts of the Old Palace still stand within the city, and when the Hue Traditional Art Troupe performs inside of the ancient architecture, the imperial music of the past is brought to life once again.

This recording is produced by David Parsons, who once again utilizes his extensive experience recording Asian music. Parsons is also a talented composer and musician.

tracklist

1 Ceremonial Music in Hue Imperial Palace and Court: Mua quat (Fan Dance) 7'08"
2 Ceremonial Music in Hue Imperial Palace and Court: Tam luan cuu chuyen (meaning now obscure) 6'31"
3 Dance Music: Phung vu (Dance of the Phoenix) 4'58"
4 Dance Music: Luc cung hoa dang (Six Floral Lamp Worshipful Offerings) 8'48"
5 Ceremonial Music in Hue Imperial Palace and Court: Ma vu bong man (meaning now obscure) 4'48"
6 Ceremonial Music in Hue Imperial Palace and Court: Ngu doi ha, Long ngam (meaning now obscure) 3'41"
7 Ceremonial Music in Hue Imperial Palace and Court: Dang Dan cung, Dang Dan don (meaning now obscure) 4'30"
8 Ceremonial Music in Hue Imperial Palace and Court: Luu thuy (Flowing Water), Kim tien (Money) 2'40"
9 Ceremonial Music in Hue Imperial Palace and Court: Nam ai, ken bop (meaning now obscure) 6'45"
10 Ceremonial Music in Hue Imperial Palace and Court: Phu luc (meaning now obscure) 6'14"
11 Ceremonial Music in Hue Imperial Palace and Court: Nam bang, Ken chien (meaning now obscure) 5'01"
12 Dance Music: Nu tuong xuat quan (Female Generals Dispatching Their Troops) 5'27"
  Total Time: 67'33"