ROSSINI Petite Polka chinoise.
CHASINS Rush Hour in Hong Kong.
GRAINGER Beautiful Fresh Flower.
ARENSKY Atude sur un thème chinois.
TCHEREPNIN Five 'Chinese' Concert Etudes.
SCOTT Lotus Land.
BUSONI Turandot's Frauengemach.
GOULD Pieces of China.
WEBER-DIAZ Imporvisation on a
Chinese Folk Song. ADAMS China Gates.
ORNSTEIN A la Chinoise.
MARTINU The Fifth Day of the Fifth
In a Chinese Temple
BIS CD1110 [DDD]
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Throughout the centuries, the Orient has exerted a strong pull of the imagination
of Western composers. One need only think of Mahlers 'Das Lied von der Erde'
and Puccini's 'Turandot', for example. Jenny Lin is a powerful advocate of
a selection of smaller pieces of Chinoiserie, with hardly a dud among them.
The first piece on the disc exemplifies the conception of the whole. Rossini's
Petite Polka chinoise (from Album de chaumière) is five
minutes of charm and wit, winningly brought off by Lin. She includes Grainger's
short setting of Beautiful Fresh Flower (the essence of Chinoiserie)
and immediately follows it with Arensky's Etude sur une thème
chinois, Op. 25 No. 3 on the same theme. Arensky's glitteringly virtuoso
setting is the highlight of a disc full of highlights.
Turandot's Frauengemach by Busoni offers a surprise, being based on
Greensleeves (which the composer thought to be Oriental!). Lin evokes
a delicate, flowing texture in the closing section, which seems to link it
with Weber-Diaz' Improvisation on a Chinese Folk Song, itself reminiscent
of Ravel's Jeux d'eau. Abram Chasins' Rush Hour in Hong Kong
would make a delightful encore piece.
There are too many felicities of touch and too many discoveries to fit an
appraisal of each piece into a single review. The variety of styles under
the umbrella title 'Chinoiserie' is really quite breathtaking. The surprising
'dud' of the collection is Martinu's The Fifth Day of the Fifth Moon,
a nondescript doodle of a piece.
A nice touch in the final item, Ketèlby's In a Chinese Temple
Garden is the inclusion of a gong (if it's played by Miss Lin, I suspect
she must pack quite a punch!). Lin plays cleanly and exceptionally musically
throughout, responding to every textural change.
Enthusiastically recommended. A veritable treasure trove of delights!!