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David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2015

I am indebted to a previous Naxos catalogue, as I lose track of Chinese works, such as the Yellow River Concerto, that owe their origin to a committee of composers. Having said that, there are so many influences at work that any number of West European composers could have played a part in its composition, with Rachmaninov as the mastermind behind these several Chinese composers. As the programme note says, its basis comes from the Warsaw Concerto, which was itself a film pastiche by the British composer, Richard Addinsell. So the Yellow River is, in every sense a populist work, full of old-fashioned sentimentality, and melodies that easily pass into your memory as it passes through its four movements. There are passages that require brilliance for the soloist, though it does not present technical hurdles, the British trained pianist, Yit Kin Seow, obviously enjoying the lyric central movements and is suitably nimble in the outer ones. The disc is completed by four works that have their basic style of composition in a West European culture heavily spiced with Chinese traditional sounds, and are lightweight in character. The enclosed booklet relates the story behind each piece, dance rhythms being the major ingredient. The disc, very well recorded in 1981, is performed by the Japanese-based orchestra from the Gunma region, and will be a pleasing introduction to those just venturing into 20th-century Chinese music. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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