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Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, March 2016

This is beautifully sensitive playing of music that demands intense concentration.

Recommended for adventurous listeners! © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2015

Having survived China’s Cultural Revolution, Bright Sheng found his way to North America, where his compositional studies were concluded with Leonard Bernstein. Musically I find him the most interesting of those who lived through those dark years, and now at sixty he can look back at a large catalogue of works, many having successfully combined East and West musical styles. The present disc—which I have enjoyed from first note to last—concentrates on his chamber and solo piano music. Opening in joyous mood with the Dance Capriccio for piano and string quartet, the work’s idiom is distinctly from the 21st century, his use of tempos and the many changes from pungency to lyric beauty being unusual and superbly judged. The Fifth String Quartet, in one quite extensive movement, is a love story that tests the individual technique of all four players. Sometimes stormy, the players often work as soloists in a fascinatingly complex tapestry. A Night at the Chinese Opera is scored for violin and piano, and here again they often have a total disregard for each other. Moving back into the late 20th century for My Song, the five short sections are based on Chinese folk music, and are here played by Peter Serkin who commissioned the score. Eight years later Sheng returned to the idiom with My Other Song, but is now more introverted and often akin to Debussy in oriental mood, the final track becoming a long slow Funeral March. The early part of the disc features the Shanghai Quartet, their clarity and transparency never clouding even the most heterogeneous passages. The performance of My Song was recorded in 1990 and released on New World Records, the remainder of the disc coming from new studio sessions of North American origin. © 2015 David’s Review Corner, October 2015

In drawing directly and clearly on folk material and then expanding and interpreting it in Western classical style, Sheng follows in the tradition of composers such as Bartók and Kodály while evolving a blended musical language that first-rate performers such as those on this CD bring eloquently to life. © 2015 Read complete review

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