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Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, August 2015

There is a great deal to absorb and appreciate in these works. Xu Shuya has a finely vivid orchestrational and evenamental feel that comes out dramatically. Anyone interested in high modernism and contemporary Chinese composers will gravitate toward this volume. It is well done on all fronts. © 2015 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Ettore Garzia
Percorsi Musicali, June 2015

The noble attempt to work out difficult textures and conceptual music is the aim of Xu Shuya. He takes advantage of that musical proximity between the Western contemporary orchestras and the East orchestras, that allows to the sounds to have a special descriptiveness. At the end the Eastern descriptive factor (which is inspired by the myth of heroic Kaufu or that is intended to capture the Tibetan spiritual instinct) is sucked into a violent orchestral perspective, aiming to capture the intensity of the phenomena or thoughts. © 2015 Percorsi Musicali

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2015

Born in China in 1961, Xu Shuya’s early education took place in Shanghai before moving to Paris to continue his mature studies, France then becoming his home. By the time of his arrival there he had already gained international recognition with his Violin Concerto, the score winning the 1982 Alexander Tcherepnin Foundation first prize in the United States. Though featured in Naxos’s 21st Century Series, most of the music on this new release dates from the 1990’s when Cristal au Soleil Couchant (Crystal Sunset) took the major award at the Besancon International Competition in France. In content Xu lives in the world of atonality, his score bringing to mind those blood coloured and sinister sunsets we find particularly in Northern Europe. Such menacing music makes for a hard-hitting and virtuoso score of uncompromising violence, and stands in contrast with the work from the following year, 1993, Echos du Vieux Champ (Echoes of the Old Country) where he recalls his youth in China. Textures are in a very different world of pastel shades, where one imagines bird-song; the playing of folk instruments in the distance, and eventually nightfall, though Xu’s own printed scenario is very different and far less romantic. The premiere of Isolation came in 1997 and relates the Chinese story of the giant Kuafu who chases the sun only to die when he cannot find water to cool himself. Arriving in the 21st century, Nirvana is the Buddhist state in which there is no suffering, while Yun, from 2007, is a folk derived score that includes wordless parts for solo soprano and contralto. There is a strong sense of conviction and detailed preparation from the Austrian Radio Orchestra and their conductor, Gottfried Rabl, the music’s complexity and massive dynamic range superbly handled by the radio engineers. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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