One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider


.
La Mer Ticciati

Eriks EŠENVALDS

Detlev GLANERT

Jaw-dropping

simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin


Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive


Cantatas for Soprano

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Xiaogang YE (b. 1955)
Symphony No.3 ‘Chu’ (2004/2007) [37:26]
The Last Paradise, op.24 for violin and orchestra (1993) [15.22]
Cho-Liang Lin (violin)
Hila Plitmann (soprano)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Josť Serebrier
rec. June 2015, Cadogan Hall, London
BIS BIS-2083 [54.13]

This is music of extraordinary beauty and real distinction, played with conviction and intensity. A little while ago, I reviewed Symphony No 2 by Xia Guan (Naxos 8.570618 - review) , a piece of well-made but curiously anonymous music, in a rather generalised film-music style. It was good then to come to this recording, a wonderful example of the exciting music emerging from the newer generation of Chinese composers.

Xiaogang Ye is perhaps best known for his piano concerto Starry Sky, premiered at the opening of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Influences include Louis Andriessen and Alexander Goehr, with whom he studied, but his sound-world is distinctively his own. In his works he repeatedly draws on aspects of Chinese culture.

In the Symphony here, the inspiration is the ancient state of Chu (c1030 – 224 B.C.), its art and stories as well as its artefacts. But this does not mean that this is programme music. Rather it explores different moods and dreams. A special feature is the use of traditional instruments, not as mere colouring but as integral to the symphonic logic. The skill shown in the blend of sounds means that they are no mere exotic add-ons, to give a bit of oriental flavour. The players are not named, but the nstruments used – in addition to Chinese percussion instruments – include the di (a transverse flute), the xiao (an end-blown flute), sheng (mouth organ), erhu (violin) and pipa (lute). As in Vaughan Williams’ Pastoral Symphony, there is a wordless soprano, here in the third and seventh movements. Much of the music is lyrical, though sometimes, as in the movement ‘Bronze’ there is discordance in the many bells heard.

The Last Paradise is a very different piece of considerable interest. Although perhaps reminiscent of a violin concerto, it is rather a tone poem inspired by the composer’s experience when living in a village during the Cultural Revolution. The piece requires virtuosity and there are moments, as in the opening, when there is true pain in the expression, but ultimately the piece ends with quiet rapture. As instrumentation is that of the usual classical orchestra, there is no barrier to regular concert performances of the work: it would be an attractive and significant addition to the repertoire.

Performances are impeccable and committed, and the acoustic of the Cadogan Hall generous. I shall return to this very often.

Michael Wilkinson
 


 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger