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Classicalcdreview.com. A terrific release

November 30, 2010

Classicalcdreview.com

Michala Petri (b. 1958) began playing the recorder when only three years old and went on to become the world's leading performer on the instrument. Her numerous recordings of standard repertory were staples for collectors decades ago and many are still in the catalog. She also has a keen interest in contemporary music and has commissioned many works. This splendid OUR Recordings issue offers music by four contemporary Chinese composers. These are not miniatures; they are substantial evocative showpieces for soloist and orchestra. Tang Jianping (b. 1955) wrote his three-movement Flying Song for the Chinese dizi (bamboo flute) accompanied by a Pan-Asian ensemble, heard here in a version with western orchestra. China's best-known composer, Bright Sheng (1955), wrote his Flute Moon on a commission from the Houston Symphony which gave the premiere in 1999 with Christopher Eschenbach on the podium. This music was inspired by Chi Lin, the Chinese unicorn also known as the "dragon horse." The two movements (Chi Lin's Dance/Flute Moon) are a virtuoso display for the solo piccolo which is often accompanied by dynamic percussive orchestral outbursts. Ma Sui-long (b. 1939) wrote his best-known composition for the Chinese dizi (bamboo flute), an instrument with a rather piercing sound because of an extra hole covered with a membrane. The music successfully fuses eastern and western music. Chen Yi (b. 1953) was the first woman in China to receive a master's degree in composition. Since then, she has received many awards both for her music and her teaching. The Ancient Chinese Beautyhas three movements inspired by ancient Chinese totems and clay figurines written to showcase Petri's instruments. It was premiered in April 2008 in Beijing to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Denmark and the People's Republic of China. All of these performances were recorded in Copenhagen's Royal Danish Academy of Music in April 2010 and must be considered definitive. Audio quality is outstanding. A terrific release!