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Kenneth Keaton
American Record Guide, January 2018

Chinese-born Xianji Liu won the 2016 Francisco Tarrega Guitar Competition. Typical of competition winners, he has loads of technique and a colorful imagination. The latter is what makes his music interesting. He is a highly romantic interpreter, but sometimes his Dionysian urges could use a bit more of Apollo.

His Scarlatti is just gorgeous—warm tone, sparkling ornamentation, perfect tempos.

…Liu is a remarkably talented performer with a bright future. I look forward to more from him as he grows as an artist. © 2018 American Record Guide

iClassical, August 2017

On this CD Liu performs a range of transcriptions and works written specifically for the guitar. Most of them are fairly trivial works, but they make for great easy listening! He is able to exhibit various styles in the chosen pieces; at times jazzy, sultry and full of Spanish style as appropriate to the piece being performed. The Scarlatti Harpsichord Sonata (K146), transcribed here for guitar is especially pleasing. © 2017 iClassical Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2017

In 2016, Xianji Liu became the first Chinese-born winner of the Francisco Tárrega International Guitar Competition adding to a long list of awards already achieved. He presently enjoys a career that has taken him around Europe and the United States in addition to his many appearances in his homeland. For this Naxos debut, he has chosen the type of repertoire we hear in guitar competitions, its breadth of expressivity and technical expertise aimed at impressing the jury. I certainly enjoyed the familiar Scarlatti Harpsichord Sonata (K146) in its guitar guise, and equally his seductive approach to Tarrega’s Capricho arabe. There is a jazzy input to Joaquín Malats Serenade espanola; authentic Spanish strumming in the Albéniz, and some sultry Piazzolla. It is all very pleasing as background listening, but I wish Xianji Liu had included works of musical substance. The closest we come to that is in Lennox Berkeley’s Sonatina, which displays him as an interesting new arrival on the guitar scene. More distance between the instrument and the microphone would have helped, as his dynamic range, as here presented, is very restricted. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

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