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David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2015

Three works from the Chinese-born composer, Du Ming-Xin, brought onto international disc release having originated on the Hong Kong Records label. It was in the 1950’s that he moved from China to study in Moscow, and from that experience that we find many of his influences for the attractive Violin Concerto, a score completed in 1982 and written for the soloist on this recording, Takako Nishizaki. Stylistically it is locked into the mainstream of tonal music of the early 20th century, and is unusual among present day Chinese music in having no descriptive name, its three movements in Western classical style. Though the fast sections of the outer movements call for Nishizaki’s technical brilliance, the composer had in mind her highly attractive lyric qualities for the tender moments that occupy the work’s central movement. Particularly attractive is the cadenza in the long opening movement, with its flights of pure fantasy. The orchestration mixes a little of Hollywood, with a quantity of Chinese traditional music, and the influences of the politically accepted Russians in the 1950’s. The Goddess of River Luo is a tone poem relating the sad poet who finds momentary happiness with a visit of the Goddess, only to drift into melancholy on her departure. Finally some brief thoughts on the Mid-Autumn Festival, both works in the same pleasing and uncomplicated world as the concerto. The Hong Kong Philharmonic was a relative newcomer as a professional orchestra when the recording was made in 1982, but play admirable throughout under the American conductor, Kenneth Jean. The sound is very good. Much commended. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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