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Vivian Fung's work is influenced by Asian sources such as Balinese gamelan music. Violin Concerto soloist Kristin Lee's shared experience of Bali with the composer resulted in an intensely lyrical and virtuoso work in which West and East collide to create music of remarkably fresh sophistication. Fung draws on John Cage's 'prepared' piano techniques to create often eerie and otherworldly effects in Glimpses, ideas from which expand into the Piano Concerto. Subtitled 'Dreamscapes', this work explores contrasts ranging from hauntingly sustained calm to moments of brutal power.
Fung's restless rhythmic palette sometimes evokes the syncopations of jazz, or perhaps early John Adams, but the giddy results are entirely her own. --Juilliard Journal
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Top customer reviews
This Naxos cd features 3 gamelan-infuenced works written between 2006 and 2011,one for prepared piano,one for piano and orchestra and one for violin and orchestra written in 2006,2009,and 2011 respectively.
Ms.Fung's masterful compositional skills and uncanny sense of tone color make her one of the finest young composers in this country.
The Violin concerto is in one 26 minute movement,and is a challenging,but quite accessible and lyrical,and was written after the composer and violinist Kristen Lee,
the violinist on this recording for whom the piece was written,traveled to Bali to
actually hear the music that inspired the composing of this work.
This concerto goes through many changes in dynamics and orchestration for both the violin solo and orchestra,and features.tonal,atonal,and polytonal passages,as well as a lot of glissandi for the violinist,and certainly holds the listener's attention for its full duration.It all ends quietly.
"Glimpses" in 3 movements features prepared,muted,string,and bowed piano,and is a wonderful example of what incredible sounds can be achieved for this medium,especially for people who greatly admire Cowell,Cage and Crumb like myself.
Metal clips,hairclips,popsicle sticks,and in the third movement.bowing with a piece of twine,and a porcelain bowl dropped on the strings make for a fascinating work that wears well with repeated listening,and Fung's subtle touch certainly adds to it's enjoyment. The Piano Concerto "Dreamscapes' is one of the most original orchestral works I have heard in years,and also uses prepared and string piano,as well as conventional piano playing,as well as vividly colorful orchestral effects such as the use of the 7 Vietnamese bird whistles along with slit drums to begin the concerto,wind players clicking fingering patterns,and ending with the whole orchestra rubbing the rims of wine glasses producing a sound like one large glass harmonica.
The concerto's five sections,the second of which is is an expansion of "
Kotekan",the second movement of "Glimpses' as well as bits of Ravel,Bartok,jazz,and of couse the gamelan influence truly make for a fascinating mix of styles,but with that Fung original sound holding it all together
The Metropolis Ensemble, under conductor Andrew Cyr,and the soloists,violinist Kristen Lee,and pianist,Conor Hanick play these demanding scores superbly. The recording by one of my favorite labels for new music,the incredible Naxos is fantastic.
This truly one of the best cd's of 2012,and I hope we will have more recordings of Ms, Fung's compositions soon.
Bravo Vivian Fung! She should be among the best composers of 21st century! I am going to recommend this CD to all my friends.
Maestro Andrew Cyr deftly navigates the Metropolis Ensemble through the exciting maze of Fung's music and brings to life this rich offering with electric urgency. With all the musical families represented, we clearly hear each of them, almost as though we have the pleasure of having the score in front of us. Clarity and precision are at the top of the priority list as Cyr & Metropolis bring to the table a marvelous sampling of music by Fung, a composer who's music demands our attention.