Bright Sheng, Illuminating Chinese Musics Roots and Branches
By Joseph McLellan
Bright Sheng, a
Sheng was the pianist in the trio movements, with violinist Hasse Borup and cellist Amy Leung. The most fascinating part of the program, however was when Wu Man played pipa, a four-stringed Chinese lute. 
The earlier Four Movements, using only Western instruments, hinted less completely at a similar dialogue. Before the performance, Sheng explained the pentatonic scales that are the basis of Chinese music and discussed the advantages of monophonic structure-one note at a time rather than chords or counterpoint, allowing the performers to take liberties, such as bending the pitch of a note that are forbidden in traditional Western styles.