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Chinese Lieder Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import, August 12, 2008
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 12, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import
  • Label: CHANNEL CLASSICS
  • ASIN: B0017KVO7U
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #880,351 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
This latest release in Channel Classics "China Series" had great potential to be an extremely important recording.
First off, Fan Jingma is arguably one of the finest western-styled opera singers in China. He is popular, charismatic and posses a fine bel canto technique that has opened doors for his talent in Europe and North America. Secondly, China's art song tradition - in the western classical music-sense - has been virtually undocumented on disc. Thirdly, as anyone who values state-of-the-art recordings can tell you, Channel has a long reputation at lovingly capturing the sound of intimate music-making with a sonic fidelity that many aspire to but seldom achieve. Sadly, this project falls short of such high expectations. Fan delivers the goods masterfully when singing in Chinese but his diction is challenged on the handful of songs that are presented in English-translation, but this is certainly forgivable. Where the disappointment is particularly evident is in the selection of the repertoire. Make no mistake, these are not "Lieder", but are rather folk song arrangements after the Soviet-inspired model - smoothing out and "domesticating" the raw originals and providing them with suitably simple, westernized harmonizations. The result is not unpleasant but rather bland. More's the pity because China has produced some first-rate composers who have created a significant body of art song (Jiang Wenye, He Luding, Nie Er, Xian Xinghai to name those active in the first half of the 20th century) but none are to be found here. Why this repertoire selection was made is a mystery - and a missed opportunity. An error-strewn booklet rounds out the picture (what exactly IS a "Xinjiang Fonk Song"?!?). Sonics are everything we've come to expect from Channel - but alas, Fan's talents were wasted on rather banal repertoire.
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Format: Audio CD
Jingma Fan is a western-styled tenor, rather than a Chinese folk singer.
These are two entirely distinct categories in terms of vocal training in China.
Even so, Mr. Fan's attempt at these 'Chinese' compositions that encompass a good number of Chinese folksongs is a gallant one, though not entirely authentic in terms of style.
The reason is simple - most of these songs demand a very lyrical and limpid sort of rendition. Some glaring example include those Khazak folk tunes.
Fan's timbre fits the Yunnan folk song "Running Stream" very well, though. That accounts for his giving his album this title. The Mongollian Madrigal and the Grassland Serenade are other two songs that Fan bring out very well in this recording.
As one reviewer pointed out, the last three songs are being repeated in English. I don't think such is necessary.
Quite contrary to that reviewer's observation, these songs are about the MOST popular modern Chinese songs.
For these repertoire, also watch out for Shanghai tenor Liming Chi's renditions. For the old generation, Zhangping Yu and Shuanggang Li used to lead the field in respect of the art songs and folk songs respectively, for the information of those who are unfamiliar with the Chinese vocal sector.
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