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Sheng: Orchestral Works

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, March 18, 2003
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Product Details

  • Performer: Sheng, Gondek, Qiang, Wong, Hong Kong Po
  • Audio CD (March 18, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 66 minutes
  • ASIN: B00008IHVY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468,060 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
A few years ago, if someone had put a gun to my head and demanded that I name two Chinese composers quickly, well, let's just say I wouldn't be reviewing right now. Then along came Tan Dun and Bright Sheng and the atmosphere for Chinese composers became much brighter. Dun is perhaps the more traditionally Chinese...often his music seems more like a Taoist ceremony than a classical composition, brilliant though some of it is. Bright Sheng however, is more immediately attractive and understandable to westernized ears. But no less enjoyable!
Sheng is sort of a Chinese version of a neo-romantic. The three works on this disc are all for large orchestra. All of the hallmarks of the younger generation of neo-romantics are there, infectious rhythm, dazzling orchestration, expansive statements, a dissonant harmonic language that borrows equally from Bartok and Stravinsky with occasional hints of even wilder influences such as Varese. Grafted onto this is a melodic idiom taken from Chinese sources and you have a vibrant, muscular but pleasing music indeed.
The first work on the album is China Dreams. The genesis of this work was in a number of different commissions that the composer recieved over the years 1992-95. The work is brilliantly scored and is a lot of fun to listen to. Though in passages it is quite dissonant, it is always tonal and extremely lyrical or rhythmic. The work does have the feeling of an occasional work some ways it sounds like four separate overtures collected together in one piece. Given the style of commissioning in major American orchestras currently, this isn't surprising. A composer of Sheng's stature in the 90s would have been more likely to build a career through small "program openers" than through a major work...
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