£16 post free World-wide


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

What's New
Previous CDs
Labels index

Every Day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor: Rob Barnett  
Founder Len Mullenger   


Some items
to consider


Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

Mahler 9 Elder

New Lyrita Release

British Violin and Cello Concertos

Lyrita New Recording

Ritchie Symphony 4

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Mozart concertos





Buy through MusicWeb from £14.99 postage paid.
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contact for details

Musicweb Purchase button

TON-THAT Tiêt (b. 1933)
Les jardins díautre monde (1987) [30:38]
Et la rivière chante líéternité (2000) [16:38]
Poèmes (2004)a [13:29]
Ensemble Les Temps Modernes, Ensemble Thai-Haa
rec. Salle Varèse, CNSMD, Lyon, September 2006
HORTUS 046 [60:45]


Born in Hué (Vietnam), Ton-That Tiêt (www.tonthattiet.com) studied in Paris with Jean Rivier and André Jolivet. The latter undoubtedly had a great influence on Ton-Thatís musical thinking, for his music is deeply imbued with mysticism. That element was part of Jolivetís humanistic concern, as may be found in works such as Incantations, Mana, Mandala or Yin Yang. As with many Eastern composers of his and later generations, Ton-That Tiêt aims at a blend of Eastern and Western traditions, in much the same way, but often with different results, as Takemitsu, Tan Dun, Zhou Long, Nishimura, Hosokawa and his fellow countryman Nguyen Thien Dao (b. 1940).

Les jardins díautre monde is in a single movement and consists of four tableaux linked by three short interludes. The tableaux evoke the four emperors who reigned in Hué during the 19th Century up to 1883, each of whom had a grave built for his afterlife. The graves are situated in a garden, and each grave and garden have thus a character of their own reflecting each emperorís personality: the first emperorís grave is "austere and majestic", that of the second is "geometric and mystic", that of the third who reigned a mere eight years is "peaceful and almost without character" whereas that of the last is "a garden full of life ... where Time ceases to exist". The work opens with an arresting gesture: heavy drum strokes and a wind chord suggesting some primitive Eastern instrument such as the shô (like a mouth organ). Then, each section evokes in often vivid instrumental touches the character of each grave. This colourful and attractive work is scored for a small mixed ensemble in which the harpís part is prominent without being truly soloistic.

The layout of the string trio Et la rivière chante líéternité is not unlike that of the preceding work, in that it, too, consists of three sections ("Chants") separated by three trios and two interludes, the whole played without break in an appropriately free-flowing structure.

Of the three works recorded here, Poèmes is the one in which East meets West, in the most explicit way since it is scored for the "Debussy trio" of flute, viola and harp and a Ca Trù trio Ė the latter on tape as I understand. First, a short piece of musical erudition: Ca Trù is a scholarly Eastern music type with its own precise rules as to modes, rhythms, ornamentation and even improvisation; and a Ca Trù ensemble consists of a singer, a lute and a drum; information drawn from the booklet. The work is based on poems by Li Po, and may be perceived as a suite of haikus, in turn introspective and vividly colourful, by way of brief, but telling brushstrokes. The piece ends with an accompanied recitation, in French, of a few words by Li Po I suppose. In many ways, this beautifully suggestive work is similar to Tan Dunís Out of Peking Opera, Qigang Chenís Iris dévoilée or Zhou Longís Out of Tang Court, which all confront and at times reconcile Eastern and Western musical traditions while clearly eschewing any all-too-easy picturesque clichés.

These often beautiful works are characterised by remarkable subtlety and great sonic refinement, and each is perfectly balanced so that none outstays its welcome. Ton-That Tiêtís sound-world is entirely his own, but it clearly demonstrates that music transcends all borders and is able to address any audience willing to take the plunge. If you know and like any of the music the Eastern composers I have mentioned in this review, Ton-That Tiêtís music is for you too, even if it will soon be clear that he draws on another tradition with its own age-old history. Excellent performances and recording, although the composerís own notes might have told us a bit more about the music; but perhaps the composer wants to leave much to oneís imagination.

Hubert Culot


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Prťalable
Cameo Classics
Northern Flowers
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.