From the liner notes:
“Dennis Ho’s 2018 documentary Qi demystifies the Chinese concept of energy known as qi (chi) by identifying its various properties and their empowering effects on human physiology. … As he was developing this film, Ho reconnected with composer Jerome Leroy, who had previously composed the music for the director’s debut, the award-winning fantasy/drama, A Better Place. “I think composers and I bond very well, maybe more so compared to other filmmakers because I have a degree in music composition and theory; so communicating musical ideas is certainly less challenging,” Ho explained. “On Qi, as with all collaborations, we had a number of back-and-forth discussions and, in the end, Jerome’s brilliance pulled together the perfect blend of eastern and western modalities to appeal to a global audience.”
To accommodate this musical balance, it was decided that the score should feature an instrumentation that was reminiscent of Asian cultures, yet could stand on its own as an accompaniment to a universal spiritual journey. … To that effect, Leroy chose to substitute traditional Chinese instruments with Western ones: instead of an erhu, he used a solo cello (performed by Tina Guo), and instead of bamboo and wood flutes, he used a set of concert flutes (bass, alto, and regular flutes, all performed by Gina Luciani). The mixture of Chinese musical flavors speaking through orchestral instruments familiar to western audiences supports Ho’s concept of portraying qi’s Chinese origins through a universal lens.
“An important element in the philosophy surrounding the concept of qi is the idea of a constant energy loop,” said Leroy. “I decided to represent this with various orchestral motors on three acoustic and processed pianos (which I performed myself), on harp (performed by Lara Somogyi), and other various percussive instruments.” Another element the composer wanted to underscore was qi’s raw potential for power, strength, and depth — when it is properly harnessed. For that, he used thunderous world percussions such as frame drums, dolhs, toms, taikos, and various bass drums. “Obviously,” Leroy explained, “the goal was for all these separate concepts (energy, power, healing, strength, etc.) to blend so they would sound and feel musically balanced and interconnected.”
Both Ho and Leroy wanted the score to offer a kind of spiritual journey in tune with the film’s portrayal of qi’s life-changing potential. “To musically connote this impression,” said Leroy, “the score ranges in style from simple, repetitive, quasi-minimalistic pieces to epic moments featuring solos, percussion, and synth beds, and various metallic percussive touches.” In so doing, the score tracks the varied benefits and real-life implications of learning to harness qi."
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