Walter Niemann: Ancient China, op. 62

“The Composer, having in a dream joined the Poet, Paul Claudel (author of “Aus der Erkenntnis des Ostens”, translated into German by Jakob Hegner, and published by Insel-Verlag), on a journey to China, relates here in music some of his experiences. They do not pretend to be Chinese, as the Composer does not deliberately employ the five-tone scale, whole-tone combinations with abstention from the leading-note, strange rhythms, and other primitive auxiliary means of producing exotic music; they are intended to be Chinese only in so far as they reproduce the delicate, exotic, fairy-tale atmosphere of the Far East, occasionally coloured with the primitive element in music. The work should be regarded as a musical picture of Ancient China, as conceived in a dream-fantasy by a modern German composer.”