Hoang Cuong

Composer and violinist Hoang Cuong (b. 1944, Hue Vietnam) attended high school at the Carl Maria von Weber Conservatory in Dresden, Germany. He graduated from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Russia and did post graduate work at the Chopin Conservatory in Warsaw, Poland. He taught violin at the Ho Chi Minh Conservatory of Music beginning in 1965 and also served as Dean of the String Department (1984), Vice-Director (1997) and Director (2000, now retired). Hoang has served as a member of the jury for the Spohr International Violin Competition in Freiburg, Germany (1997). He has composed numerous works for voice, solo instruments, chamber music and symphony orchestra.

Hoang Cuong — Thoa noi nho mong (Longing for Times Past)

Bien tau chu de cho bon nhac cu
(Variations for Four Musical Instruments)

The sound of the dan bau, or single-string zither, is uniquely Vietnamese. This monochord instrument can be traced back to 7th-century northern Vietnam. The musician holds a bamboo pick in the right hand and plucks the steel string to obtain harmonics while the left hand moves a flexible handle carved out of buffalo horn to create the melody. Historically, the dan bau has been played alone or to accompany recitations of poetry. In recent years, however, as in this work, composers have achieved striking effects by combining the dan bau with contemporary Western instruments. The composer has written the substitute clarinet part so that Western ensembles may perform this piece in the event that there is no dan bau player available.

Professor Hoang, director of the City Conservatory of Music in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), based this instrumental work on a traditional melody from an old song form of north Vietnam, quan ho, or antiphonal courting song. In this tradition the young men of one village band together to go serenade the young women of a neighboring village, and the women respond in song. The title of this work, which translates roughly as “satisfying the longings stirred by memory,” is taken from a line of the folk song on which it is based. “When I miss you,” the song goes, “I go to the river where we met and drink from its waters to calm the emotions stirred up by my thoughts of you.” The work is in the form of a theme and four variations.

Thoa noi nho mong was premiered in North Carolina on February 2nd, 2003 by the Mallarme Chamber Players (Anna Ludwig Wilson, flute, Hsiao-mei Ku, violin, Jonathan Kramer, cello and Deborah Hollis, piano, with guest artist Nguyen Phong, dan bau).

Suited for:


For Flute, Dan Bau (or Clarinet), Cello and Piano, 15 minutes.
MC-0750 . . . $39.00

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