ZHOU LONG (b.1953): Piano Bells, Mongolian Folk-Tune Variations, CHEN YI (b.1953): Northern Scenes, TAN DUN (b.1957): 8 Memories in Watercolour, Op. 1, ALEXINA LOUIE (b.1949): Music for Piano, DOMING LAM (b.1926): Lamentations of Lady Chiu-Jun, Op. 12a.

Catalogue Number: 09R074

Label: Naxos

Reference: 8.570616

Format: CD

Price: $11.98

Description: This recording showcases the rich diversity of contemporary music by Chinese composers. All the pieces are thoroughly approachable, though the idioms are diverse and inndividual. Zhou Long's Pianobells adds to the considerable body of pianistic representations of bell sounds, in this case inspired by a traditional Chinese myth. Punctuated by the sonorous tolling of direct contact on the strings, the piece otherwise recalls Liszt's evocative bell pieces. The composer's other piece here is much earlier, a set of variations in a western tonal idiom on a Mongolian folksong as suited to the purpose as any of the European folk melodies treated in this way by western composers. Doming Lam's piece uses traditional Chinese melodies and imitations of the sonorities of traditional instruments to evoke the conventions of Chinese opera. Alexina Louie is a Canadian composer of Chinese descent, whose four little studies explore impressionistic atmosphere, rhythmic freedom and minimalistic processese, all with a modal inflection to the harmony reminiscent of early 20th-century French evocations of the Orient. Tan Dun's eight delicate miniatures are gently evocative sketches, again with somewhat of a French impressionistic vocabulary, and clearly defined tonality with pentatonic inflections of traditional Chinese folk melody. Chen Yi's Northern Scenes is poetic and atmospheric, evoking landscape in richly expressive sonorous harmonic gestures, resonances and strands of archaic melody. Susan Chan (piano).


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