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ClassicsOnline Home » CHINA Hok-Man Yim: Poems of Thunder - Percussion
By John Cho
By Kuan Nai-Chung*, (translated from Chinese)
"Poems Of Thunder is a recording that undoubtedly reaches a higher level of artistic dexterity in percussion music than most other drumming CDs that are only produced for the sake of showing off mastery in digital recording sound. Whether it is Beijing Opera ('Deep Night'), Xian drum music ('Duck's Quarrel'), or Cantonese music ('A Lion That Has Just Woken'), all the compositions truly express the distinctive artistic personality of Yim Hok-Man, while touching the hearts of loyal music lovers. Mr. Yim exerts his musical power rhythmically, yet with ease and full of emotions. In terms of his technique in playing the drum, he has a master's control in sound and power over his playing's gentleness, intensity, slowness or speed according to his will.
In 'Poem of Chinese Drum', the thundering bang of the drum is overwhelming. When the multitude of percussion start to ring out in 'Triumphal Return of Fishing Boats', the music is not merely exceptional in sound, it was as if a spectacular golden beam of light is piercing through these all-enveloping sonic aura of the music. Furthermore, Mr. Yim not only has learned well from his mentors in his pervious international performances of this particular piece, he has demonstrated a continuous and consistent effort to find new nuances to perfect the song while retaining the primitive spirit of the original score.
The difference between Mr. Yim and other percussion masters lies in his knowledge and skills in playing all traditional Chinese and western percussion instruments, as well as his search for artistic perfection in the realm of percussion music.
His astonishing performances are a most accomplished set of work of rhythmic playing and interpretation. He sees his percussion instruments as real musical instruments, ones that can create rich sound quality; a medium that can convey his personal feelings and unleash his deepest thoughts. The noise he conjures from his drums are as song-like as strings, as rigourous as the pluck of a guitar and as warm as a woodwind.Poems Of Thunder is his only production in recent years, but definitely a captivating surprise of his artistry and unique performing style.Overall, the CD is outstanding in many areas - performance, recording technique, selection and arrangement of songs. The hard work can be appreciated in every single detail relating to the above areas. This is a recording of sheer power, excellent standards in digital recording and great music. A sure feast for the ears."
Yim Hok-Man is a true master percussionist. Respected throughout the East Asia continent, he started drumming when he was just ten years old. Besides refining his drum technique and skill in Chinese music, Mr. Yim further emphasized his standing by studying and becoming an accomplished percussionist in Western music too. Performing in various ensembles through his career, Yim has proved himself internationally as a drum expert.
But the Chinese music of his homeland remains his specialty. With his powerful recording Poems Of Thunder, Yim now aims to introduce the world to percussion sounds integral to Chinese folk music. From Beijing Opera to Cantonese tunes, to folk melodies of South Jiangsu province and the Zhoushan Islands, to the contemporary compositions of modern composer, Yim gives us a cross section of Chinese music as it was meant to be heard - as stunning, dramatic music that demand a listener's attention.
Recorded inside the China Central Television Studios of Beijing using the latest studio technology, Yim has produced an extraordinary record of exceptional performances, capable of delicate and whimsical subtleties one minute and rhythmically powerful dynamics the next. Backed by the Central Virtuosi conducted by Xia Fei-Yun, Poems Of Thunders' range of percussive sounds is a revelation and a stellar introduction for western audiences.
At fourteen, Yim was already studying with China's Central Philharmonic and stayed as a member of the orchestra for twenty years. Over his career, he has performed with some of the most renowned ensembles of the region as a soloist. In 1984, Yim joined the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra as the Percussion Principal and has toured with them through China, South Korea, Canada, Taiwan and the United States. Currently, he is also an instructor at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts.
Poems Of Thunder is Yim's first recording in years, and demonstrates his commitment to performing music with progressive integrity. There is the sprite and humourus tone of the opening modernist composition, 'Poem Of Chinese Drum' - by Li Zhen-Gui and Tan Dun. But the record is even more fond of presenting the Sino-regional charm in works like 'The Golden Peasant Flying Out Of The Mountain' (folk music of the Tujia tribe) and 'Big Gun Shooting Towards The Sky' (folk gong and drum music in Sichuan province). Through it all is Yim's distinctive and dexterous drumming.
With the debut of his astonishing Poems Of Thunder - available at Naxos World's very affordable budget price no less - Yim is set to bring all the beauty and power inherent in Chinese music from the mainland out to the world stage.
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CHINA Hok-Man Yim: Poems of Thunder - Percussion