Wednesday, 11 February 2009

CD Review: Chinese Piano Favourites

Naxos 8.570602
Rating ****1/2
This album of Chinese piano classics is emphatically not a poor person’s version of Lang Lang’s Dragon Songs. Although there are a few works common to both, evocative favourites like Silver Clouds Chasing The Moon and Autumn Moon Over The Calm Lake, Chinese pianist Jie Chen offers a more varied range of solos. Transcriptions of familiar tunes such as Liu Yang River are de rigeuer, but there is original music as well – Ding Shande’s Children’s Suite (sharing the same spirited na├»vete of Villa-Lobos’ miniatures) and Wang Lisan’s impressionistic The Sound of Big Waves, inspired by a Japanese painting.
Jie Chen, prizewinner in competitions at Sao Paulo, Santander and Minneapolis, lends the music a variegated touch. Spinning silky legatos to packing powerful fortissimos, she runs the full gamut and her pianism is wonderfully recorded.

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