GE GAN-RU (b.1954): Four Studies of Peking Opera for Piano and String Quartet (Kathryn Woodard [piano], Shanghai String Quartet), Wrong, Wrong, Wrong! for Voice and Toy Orchestra (Margaret Leng Tan), Yi Feng (Lost Style) for Cello (Frank Su Huang).
Catalogue Number: 08J110
Label: New Albion
Reference: NA 134
Description: 'China's first avant-garde composer?' employs 'prepared' instruments and extended playing techniques in the Four Studies to evoke the conventions and performance style peculiar to Peking Opera. The prepared piano in particular serves as a percussion section, evoking gongs, cymbals and other struck instruments using a wide range of techniques and incorporating a somewhat theatrical element into the performance. Melodic lines in the strings, where present, have a deliberately vocal inflection and a limited range, suggesting stylized speech. Wrong is a Peking-style melodrama based on a 12th-century poem and utilizing Margaret Leng Tan's most ambitious toy instrument orchestra to date -17 instruments plus her own remarkable vocalizations. Lost Style refers to the modern music 'lost' to China during the Cultural Revolution, and treats the cello in a highly experimental manner - much of the time not sounding like a cello at all - sometimes evoking the sounds of traditional Chinese instruments, traditions also in danger of being lost.