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David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2016

Paintings that depict musicians playing a woodwind instrument and harp can be seen on scrolls dating back before the first century in the Chinese Tong Dynasty. Now one of today’s most famous Chinese composers, Du Mingxin, has collected together five folk melodies from the Kiangsu region to form the suite, Village by the River, in which he pictures scenes as diverse as a Planting Song and the love song, Moli Hua (Jasmin Flower). Always tuneful and of a pleasing disposition, they do at times call for dexterity, though on modern instruments they are not difficult, save for the final sections of the Planting Song and Man River Melody, where the flautist requires fast fingers. Du Mingxin collaborates with his pupil, Xiao Yao, in Nostalgia, a series of five pieces that picture people a long way from their home reflecting on times past. Opening with My Mother and ending with the composer recalling his home where there was a forest and the sound of bells coming through the rain. Though Chinese inspired, much of the arrangements are clothed in West European garb, the performances from Lee Volckhausen and Moya Wright, principals of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra back in 1984 when the recording was first released, are most pleasurable in a nicely balanced recording. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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