interesting, charming and unique offering. Gramophone, China
June 5, 2007
Gramophone China, Rudolph Tang
This is an absolutely beautiful release that brings you peace and quiet, like a brook that you can jump into anytime without blocking it, so that the stream smoothly runs by. Chenyue’s Xiao and Hannibal’s guitar mingle the soft and sensitive tunes with humble love. You can turn on the CD anytime and the music immediately flows from all corners to cuddle you in a delicate and elegant atmosphere; you can also walk away at any time without getting lost.
Chenyue’s Xiao and Hannibal’s guitar are the only instruments throughout the album. Simple, but the cooperation is full of plain and glamorous human love. It feels like having a visit from a friend, and you play alone or listen or play together to make a beautiful tune. Both of them are definitely remarkable in their respective field. Chenyue is already quite a pioneer of working with musicians from different fields and the best proof of this is the innovative and impressive consistency of each new recording. Lars Hannibal, who graduated from Royal Academy of Music in Arhaus, the second largest city in Denmark, is quite familiar with China and was invited to Shanghai International Jazz Festival because of his cooperation with EMI as one of the top players. During that visit, he fell in love with Chinese music and culture.
“East Meets West” is a music dialogue between two musicians where they communicate, switch roles and try to open up, all through music. They selected 18 melodious and contented pieces from Eastern and Western music including old Chinese pieces, European Baroque music and some very popular folk songs from Asia and Europe – they avoid unnecessary impurities, so that they can express themselves with their own traditional and classic music. Though there are differences between Eastern and Western music, they share something, especially in the selected traditional tunes and folk songs in which the Xiao from the East and the classic guitar from the West are harmoniously sounding perfect. This was also the concept for the cooperation between these two artists.
“Jasmine” starts the release, several clear Harmonics brings the delicate prelude, followed by Chenyue’s Xiao. Obviously, the song is so well-known and touching that the player “sings" from the bottom of her heart and the guitar plays deep down the petal. In “The Last Rose of Summer”, Chenyue extends Xiao’s possibilities outside traditional Chinese music field so that her peaceful breathing beautifully expresses the music. The guitar performance is classical. The melody sounds like a melodious pen dipped with Xiao’s tune, elegantly pointing to a piece of paper fluterring in the summer breeze. “Three Variations on Plum Blossom” is a Xiao solo instead of Chinese zither and because of Chenyue’s plain and smooth playing, the distance and coldness is softened. It’s the first time to hear Air by Bach on Xiao and guitar, a little surprising. To select “Autumn Piece” is a wise decision, the exquisite arpeggiando brings the joy and you can almost hear the Xiao in the smoke. “El Noi de la Mare”, “La Filadore” and “Love Waltz” are clean and clear guitar solos full of emotions expressed through excellent skills to fill our hearts with happy sadness. I prefer “Gypsy Air” not just for the wonderful cooperation but the music itself – a sad ethnic piece, landing softly on our souls.
Reading the booklet of the CD, one can find many descriptions on the meaning of spirits and soul, as the connection between East and West is being analyzed.. The title “East Meets West” implies a little conflict and contradiction. However, the interesting, charming and unique offering is capped with a bigger hat. Thoughts are always a burden to music.
SPIRITS – East Meets West
Our Recordings [M]  (54’ DDD)