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BandWorld, July 2015

The music of Chen Yi is quite fascinating and offers a unique mesh of Eastern & Western sounds and traditions. …it is a most rewarding discovery. © 2015 BandWorld

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2015

The Chinese-American composer, Chen Yi, programmes works for various wind ensembles that look to fuse Eastern traditions with sounds of the Western world. Maybe it is my background, but much of the disc strikes me as the conventional 21st century bonding of tonality with a pungency derived from atonality. Within those parameters the Suite for Cello and Chamber Winds falls into a classical four-movement format with those sounds you will hear as a tourist in China colouring the accompaniment. For the soloist the work is firmly related to a Western concerto, the eventual mix being highly enjoyable, especially in the highly active Flower Drums in Dance finale. The very brief Woodwind Quintet from 1987 acts as a prelude to Feng, also for woodwind quintet and completed the following year, and have, according to the conductor, Sarah McKoin, specific relationships with China that she details in the disc’s programme notes. Without that perception they are the children of the Second Viennese School of composition. Having opened in pure exuberance with KC Capriccio, the disc closes in a wind ensemble version of the orchestral work, Tu, dedicated to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York. Opening in violence and panic, the work passes through an eerie quiet in the aftermath, and eventually arrives with Chen Yi’s hope for a future peace. The playing of the Texas University Wind Ensemble is strikingly good, even in the complexities Chen poses. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

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