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Ettore Garzia
Percorsi Musicali, January 2015

“Shanghai Reminiscences” shows the major instrumental effort straining to reproduce a sort of imaginative autobiography in music of Ge Gan-Ru: we listen to the sound of the first lessons on the violin, the sound of bell bike and the rhythm of pedaling through to the sounds of the local markets and then the evocation of the Buddhist temples and proto-military marches. We are in territories far from the frescoes of Yi Feng, Fu or Fall of Baghdad, but this time the prevalence of western elements is indispensable to cause the strong state empathy for urban sounds and sounds in the past of the composer: Ge Gan-Ru has created a kind of “concrete” dialogue among the instruments, with a powerful glue set towards a revival of classical and romantic genre (which eventually becomes exotic). © 2015 Percorsi Musicali

David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2015

Resident in the United States, Ge Gan-Ru, now aged sixty, is still in transit as a composer, the present disc featuring two of his most recent orchestral works. Born in Shanghai in 1954, the ending of the Cultural Revolution gave him access to the Shanghai Conservatoire from where he graduated before moving to New York to further his studies. It was there that, together with several other Chinese composers, he found his emotional home. To date his works have shown many influences, the present Shanghai Reminiscences drawing heavily on those Russian composers who found favour in the Stalin era. It is a musical biography of his young life through to the traumatic events that saw the birth of Cultural Revolution. With hints of Chinese music it much depends of Western Europe for its orchestration, the score requiring a large orchestra with a battery of percussion instruments. Picturing events in music is a fraught occupation, and maybe Ge will return to this 2009 score with some judicious cuts. At present it is a very colourful work that also acts as an orchestral showpiece. Butterfly Overture was completed two years ago as a tribute to his mentor, Chen Gang, whose Butterfly Lovers is the most famous piece of classical music in China. Quite different in content, Ge’s score is highly charged until the work eventually drifts into silence. He has the Royal Scottish as his champions, the orchestra one of those rare breed of orchestras who can bring a feel of total familiarity to music they have never seen before, the massive climatic moments being quite overwhelming. Very good detailed sound. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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