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Kraig Lamper
American Record Guide, September 2016

Guan’s works are uplifting and pleasant with sweeping melodies and lots of bombast from the brass. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Jerobear
Review Corner, July 2016

This new CD by renowned Chinese composer Xia Guan is good because it sounds like a film soundtrack—he is known in his home country for film and television work—but isn’t encumbered by an actual film. The music has got all the warmth of a film score, with stirring bits, quiet bits and bits that canter along nicely in between without having to sacrifice anything for the sake of plot. It’s also approachable—if you’re a bit scared of classical music there’s not much to alarm you here. © 2016 Review Corner Read complete review



The Chronicle, July 2016

This new CD by renowned Chinese composer Xia Guan is good because it sounds like a film soundtrack…but isn’t. The music has got all the warmth of a film score, with stirring bits, quiet bits and bits that canter along nicely in between without having to sacrifice anything for the sake of plot. It’s also very approachable… © 2016 The Chronicle



Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, May 2016

…the NSO delivers superb performances of Guan’s colorful, melodramatic music. © 2016 Classical Lost and Found Read complete review



Michael Wilkinson
MusicWeb International, May 2016

This is another in the enterprising series of recordings of 21st Century Chinese music from Naxos, music which is attractive, well-played and well-recorded. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2016

One of a growing number of Chinese composers who have been entirely educated in his native land, but writing symphonic works based on Western music traditions. Xia Guan was born in 1957 and graduated in 1985, he was quickly established both in the world concert music and TV soundtracks. He was to write his first symphony while still a student, the Second appearing in 1999 with the subtitle ‘Hope’. In three movements on that theme, the twenty minute ‘Expectation and Quest’ forms a highly engaging opening introduced by a Mahlerian solo trumpet passage. As the work unfolds there is certainly an element of Hollywood film scores in its romantic gestures. That is particularly true of the following ‘Warmth’, the central Adagio, which acts as a foil to ‘The Light’ finale where you will find influences of Khachaturian. All in a pure tonal mode, Guan is an orchestrator who uses a highly coloured palette employing the resources of a large ensemble. The Earth Requiem, the first Chinese-language Requiem, was his response to the devastating earthquake that hit the Sichuan region of the country. He later arranged the first movement just for orchestra, which is here recorded for the first time. It is a beautifully elegiac piece of great sadness, not untypical of 20th century British music in that mode. The only piece from the 21st century is the final Symphonic Ballad, Sorrowful Dawn, though that is a reworking of music from his earlier opera of that name, its message being one of heroic deeds, the story being of the emancipation of China after the Second World War. Chinese-born conductor, En Shao, obtains high impact and equally highly committed playing from the German orchestra in very good sound quality. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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