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MA, Sicong: Music for Violin and Piano, Vol. 1 (Hsiao-Mei Ku, Ning Lu)

Composer(s):Ma, Sicong
Artist(s) Lu, Ning, piano • Ku, Hsiao-mei, violin
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Chamber MusicInstrumental
Catalogue 8.570600
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
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Ma Sicong is remembered today as a leading violinist, composer and teacher who devoted his life to creating a new national identity for Chinese music. He pioneered the use of folk idioms, often adopting fragments or motifs from folk tunes and crafting them into his own musical writing. His vast output includes symphonies, concertos, chamber music, operas and ballet music as well as various forms of vocal music. Of this extensive output, Ma’s violin music is widely regarded as one of his most important contributions. This is the first release in the Naxos Chinese Classics series.


Review By Lesley Sly,Sound & Image (Australia),April 2008

Strong elements of Chinese folk and classical tradition in the tunes and in exquisite shivers of dissonance and piercing high notes, but modern western nuances too. There are joyous dances, rhapsodic cadenzas, tone poems, and short sketches based on rural scenes, grief and hardship. No doubt this taut, economical and moving performance is also informed by Ku’s experiences as a teenager in re-education heavy manual labour programs, and from witnessing the composer being abused by Red Guards in front of students and teachers.

Review By Paolo Hooke,Fine Music,February 2008

Ma was an innovator in his use of Chinese folk material, adopting themes and shaping them into his own creations. In this disc we can enjoy the composer’s use of folk songs from various regions of China; Shanxi Province, Anhui Province, Inner Mongolia and Tibet, which are seamlessly and skillfully crafted into chamber music pieces that are Western in style, Chinese in character. There is a range of moods; from the lively to the lyrical, from the robust to the rhapsodic. …The violinist is Chinese-born Hsiao-mei Ku who shares a personal connection with the composer…Ku plays the music with a depth of understanding and affection, ably supported by Chinese-born pianist Ning Lu. The total timing is generous at 71 minutes and there are accompanying notes.


Review By David Denton, Naxos,August 2007

A student of violin and composition in France during the 1920's and 30's, Ma Sicong had become one of the leading pedagogues in his native China until the Red Guards forced him from his employment. Having suffered physical abuse at their hands, he was fortunate enough to find safe passage to the United States where he spent the last twenty years of his life, dying there in 1987 at the age of 75. He left a large catalogue of music from symphonies and concertos to the modest pieces included on this disc. He pioneered the use of Chinese folk music within conventional Western classical frameworks, aiming to give far greater international circulation. Like much Chinese music the colourful titles do not translate into the pictures we understand, their content falling under the heading



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