QIGANG CHEN (b.1951): Er Huang for Piano and Orchestra, Enchantements oubliés for Large String Orchestra, Harp, Piano, Celesta, Timpani and Percussion, Un temps disparu for Erhu and Orchestra.

Catalogue Number: 05R069

Label: Naxos

Reference: 8.570614

Format: CD

Price: $11.98

Description: Chen studied with Messiaen, but has deep-rooted ties to the music and culture of his homeland, and the result is an idiom that makes great use of traditional Chinese material, but expressed in terms of a very French-sounding idiom. It has to be said that his harmonic language mostly pre-dates that of his illustrious teacher, the primary influence seeming to be impressionism, with Debussy frequently recalled. Er Huang introduces melodies from Peking Opera initially in simple, nostalgic piano textures with restrained, impressionistic accompaniment; when the music swells to its grandiose neo-romantic climax it sounds almost like an exaggerated take on Rachmaninov. The gentle, watercolor textures of the opening are restored in the final section. Enchantements explores the essence of beauty, in lush, glowing harmony and orchestration. The mellifluous, euphonically orchestrated work is structured as an expansive series of episodes, emphasizing beauty of content over formal rigor; its more vigorous passages, even those introduced by thunderous timpani tattoos - the gods lightheartedly flinging thunderbolts around for sport - have a playful, shining, dancing quality with the influence of Chinese folk melody strongly present in the thematic material. A Vanished Time is again strongly tinged with nostalgia, making use of a traditional Chinese melody. The work was originally for cello, later recast for the two-stringed erhu, resulting in a mysterious soundworld; while predominantly melodic, modal and consonant, there are passages of greater coloristic and atmospheric dissonance than in the other two works here. Chun-Chieh Yen (piano), Jiemin Yan (erhu), Taiwan Philharmonic; Shao-Chia Lü.


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