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Louis Chen
Plays Zheng Solos
Hugo Productions (

cd cover Louis Chen, a former Chinese music historian, was recorded playing his beloved zheng as early as 1948. In 1951 he was asked to contribute to a western reference recording presenting preeminent examples of the world's music. Fully retired for six years in 1996, Chen made this high-definition session which reveals a wealth of ancient music research. The zheng is plucked on a flat surface and is similar to the Japanese koto but with a metallic timbre. The music is expectedly delicate; but also melodic and descriptive at the same time.

"Old Drunken Man"
The beauty of water, wind, autumn, the moon and drunken men is easily evoked by the zheng and each of these natural motifs are mentioned at least twice among the 15 titles presented. Notes accompany each track in the Chinese/English booklet. Though the subtleties of Chinese emotion as expressed in solo zheng performance may not be obvious to a foreigner, the serenity of this unrushed art is unmistakable. - Steve Taylor

Audio: Louis Chen "Old Drunken Man Dance"
©2000 Hugo, China, used by permission

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