there's no high-frequency distortion, no extraneous noise, no strange coloration, nothing but the natural sounds of the instruments Fabfare US
July 28, 2009
James Reel, Fanfare US
DIALOGUE—EAST MEETS WEST • Michala Petri (rec); Chen Yue (xiao, dizi) • OUR RECORDINGS 6.220600 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 67: 46)
YAO HU Rong (Fusion). M. NIELSEN Stream. RUI LI Peng Zhuang (Sparkling-Collision). SEJLUND Butterfly-Rain. GANG CHEN The Greeting from Afar. MONRAD EastWest-project 16. SIQIN CHAOKETU Yan Gui (The wild goose comes back home). ROFELT Circonflexe. RUOMEI CHEN Jue (Very rare and fine jade). MURASHKIN Cascades
Buy now from Amazon Contemporary Chinese pieces alternate with works by young Danes on this recording that teams the European recorder family with its Chinese analogs, the xiao and dizi. All of these pieces were written, mostly by composers under 30, in 2007 especially for this project spearheaded by the two performers. Most of the Chinese pieces sound distinctly Chinese, through the composers' choice of scales and use of note-bending and other Asian playing techniques. A couple of them quote Chinese melodies, but none of this is travelogue music. Peng Zhuang , for instance, sounds like an extract from Orff's Schulwerk . The Danish pieces, I suppose, are also typical of their culture, yet the greatest interest here is not hearing who uses a pentatonic scale and who does not, but how the various composers cause the two wind instruments to interact. Rong , for example, has Michala Petri and Chen Yue engage in independent but parallel play, whereas Stream establishes a closer, more interdependent relationship between the two lines. The Greeting from Afar by Gang Chen (not the composer by the same name responsible for the "Butterfly Lovers" Violin Concerto) is a playful piece calling for the highest instruments from the dizi and recorder families, while Circonflexe requires the players to switch among the full range of their instruments. Some of the pieces, like Cascades , are lovely, rippling, and fluid, while others are a bit more thorny. This is certainly not New Age meditation music, but neither is it strenuously avant-garde. Both artists play superbly, and the audio quality is notable for what it lacks—there's no high-frequency distortion, no extraneous noise, no strange coloration, nothing but the natural sounds of the instruments recorded in the flattering acoustics of a Danish church.