Small and Curious Places
Rather than highlighting contrasts between cultural traditions, Chang approached the ensemble “as a group of individual instruments and their unique characteristics, with none more distinct or exotic than the others.” By doing so, she found interesting new sound combinations in her piece Small and Curious Places (2013): a melody played on clarinet and erhu, accompanied by well-balanced string chords felt raspy, dark and Schoenbergian; sharp breath sounds in Eastern and Western flutes were mixed with wire brushes played on drums, and built in sharp waves. Chang teased out short, pentatonic moments from her rich textures, balancing energetic and intellectual elements well through the five-movement piece.
I Care if You Listen (Caitlin Smith, May 28, 2013)
Small and Curious Places
The finale in Soundstreams’ final concert of the season was a newly commissioned work by American composer Dorothy Chang: Small & Curious Places, a suite of five short movements. Each movement captured a space, whether physical, mental, actual or imaginary. The most striking for me were I. Anticipation, II. Where lost memories gather and V. of ever lingering light.
This work needs to be heard over and over again, like a fine poem, before we can exhaust it of meaning.
Musical Toronto (May 2013)
Lost and Found
“Chang's new piece, a five-movement suite titled Lost and Found, was the most creative and colourful in integrating East and West into a compelling new musical narrative. The first movement, "Folk Song", was a hard-driving exciting introduction into a sound world that balanced not only Chinese and Western instruments and playing styles, but also ingeniously combined, paired and contrasted the timbres and textures of all the instruments on stage. The final section "In Silent Rain," was a gorgeous study in , among other things, how much a pipa (Chinese lute), zheng (zither) and piano could have in common. Chang's 15-minute cross-cultural aural kaleidoscope was a treat from beginning to end...Let's hope many more people have a chance to hear it and appreciate it in the months and years to come."
Toronto Star (Toronto, ON, January 2011)
"a hissing, spitting and raging exploration of tone, breath and vocal sound"
Whole Note Magazine (June 2014)
“…a dynamic exploration of abstract motion by young composer Dorothy Chang. With its graceful, unfolding spirals, dense contractions and explosive bursts of energy, the work evokes a vivid world of sound, movement and color.”
Chicago , Illinois , (October 2003)
“…a tightly constructed and explosive brief invention”.
The Boston Phoenix (December 1997)
“Take note of her name: this 38-year-old composer is a master orchestrator with a keen sense of form...Chang has the aesthetic sense of an impressionist composer, but married to a distinct palate exhibiting clarity, balance and variety.”
San Francisco Classical Voice ( San Francisco, CA, August 2008)
Dorothy Chang’s composition is really quite a beautifully balanced and compelling work, moving between dramatic force, a type of icy austerity and a restless unease. One might in fact identify some of this feeling and texture with Sibelius, say, his Fourth Symphony, not least because of the way the exposed winds operate over quiet, intense string textures, always shifting in meaning and projection. The solo passages for the string principals were innovative and emotionally telling, and the use of bells and chimes in leading us to an ending with ethereal high strings, followed by the quietest murmur on the lower ones, was both beautiful and gripping. Young Perry So certainly took this work to heart, controlling dynamics and textures most sensitively, and coaxing both clean lines and considerable intensity out of the orchestra. His ability to build climaxes with judgment and power was unerring and his ability to maintain concentration and feeling through to the quiet ending was notable.
Seen and Heard International (March 2014)
“Chang writes with intelligence, a shimmering palette of colors and inventive development techniques. Her string writing has lushness and her choices of instruments as moments of color were often inspired.”
The Daily Gazette ( Albany , NY , March 2004)
Music of Wonder
“Chang..is obviously a composer who knows her craft and likes to explore an orchestra's spectrum of color.”
The Daily Gazette ( Albany , NY , December 2002)
“Dorothy Chang's 1995 Sunan Dances is a highly pictorial memoir of a visit to China , evocative and kaleidoscopic, with a strong rhythmic pulse.”
Seattle Times (May 2001)