CHEN YI (b.1953): Sound of the Five for Cello and String Quartet, Yangko for Violin and Percussion, Sprout for String Quartet, Burning for String Quartet, Tibetan Tunes for Piano Trio, Happy Rain on a Spring Night for Violin, Cello, Clarinet, Flute and Piano.
Catalogue Number: 05K118
Label: New World
Description: Having come of age during the Cultural Revolution, Chen was forcibly put in touch with Chinese native culture, which became a profound formative influence on her compositional voice. Traditional instruments, performing techniques and folk material were grafted onto the Western methods she had already studied, creating an idiom in which folk material seems transcribed into Western instrumental terms (though in fact the material on which most of these pieces is based is original). Sound of the Five for example re-creates a variety of styles of Chinese music through the medium of a Western string ensemble, enhanced as necessary through economical extended techniques. Yangko uses unpitched vocalizations as an extension of the percussion, while a violin plays melodic material in the style of a folk song. Burning, on the other hand, was written after the composer settled in the USA, and is a protesting 9/11 memorial in dense jagged fragments and chordal textures (mostly tonal), while the recent Tibetan Tunes actually quotes traditional material, in a return to the composer's musical and cultural origins. Third Angle New Music Ensemble.