After a while of hot writing on Hanfu issues, I need a break before I go on. (Whew!)
So here is something I’ve been meaning to write for a while – yes, I know that this is a very Westernized painting…of the Holy Mother and Lord Iesu (yes, gasp!) in a very Eastern context of them in the ‘garb of the Tartars’, but that’s beside the point today.
Ave Maria Stella
– One of the most representative pieces of the entire disc on the perfect harmony of the East and West.
– Chinese and European traditions in all its glory.
I was introduced to the subject of Ming-Qing period Chinese Jesuit music and composition thanks to my British friends from the Facebook Guqin group, who posted a link to a programme on BBC Radio-2 on early music. Rather than introducing classical Chinese musical traditions of the period, a new and rarely heard aspect was introduced — gospel music and vespers written by Jesuit missionaries since the late Ming to mid-Qing, Ricci to Pedrini to Amiot, for promoting God’s word to the Chinese.
It is well-known that Ricci’s move to write the first gospels with Chinese lyrics have set off a huge negative response from the Vatican, as well the integration of Chinese musical systems into the Western religious Baroque tradition. What we get today is a precious example of fusion music and an early attempt into ‘world music’ – without sounding tribal or obviously lenient on one tradition or the other.
Kudos to Jean-Christophe Frisch and Francois Picard to their painstaking research through the libraries and Chinese archives for these records, and restoring them to how they would’ve sounded like during the period.