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SHENG: China Dreams / Nanking Nanking

Composer(s):Sheng, Bright
Artist(s)
Period(s) Contemporary
Genre Classical Music
Category Orchestral
Catalogue 8.555866
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Album Price
 
MP3
USD 6.99
 

 

   




Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

Bright Sheng was born in Shanghai, experienced living through the Chinese Cultural revolution as a child and later studied composition at the local Conservatory of Music. In 1982 he moved to New York where he studied further, under Bernstein among others, winning various awards both in his homeland and in the USA. His highly accessible music has an individual voice and a vividly unpredictable orchestral palette. The spectacular China Dreams was composed between folk music. Fanfare, the second of the four movements, a brilliant toccata well laced with percussion, is immediately arresting, and the following evocation of lapping waters. Juliana Gondek joins the orchestra for the Two Poems, early works from 1985, the first short and exotic including some expert

Nanking! Nanking!, completed in 2000 and depicting the massacre when the Japanese swept into that ancient city in 1937, opens powerfully and stridently with remorseless rhythms and echoes of the Rite of Spring. The pipa (a short-necked Chinese lute) provides a ruminative retrospective narration, remembering both the darkness and the heroism of the survivors. But the music again generates considerable violence before, in a warm postlude for the strings, both elegiac and hopeful, the composer celebrates conclusion, with a final soliloquy from the pipa—so sensitively played here by Zhang Qiang—is interrupted by a brief but desperate final warning from the orchestra. These are surely definitely performances, with the Hong Kong Orchestra responding superb to the dedicated direction of Samuel Wong, and the recording is outstanding too.

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