Copper Idiophones over the Drums
Hugo Productions (www.hugocd.com)
Both in terms of mood and pacing, the title piece "Copper Idiophones Over The Drums" typifies much of the modern and programmatic Chinese music here that is finely infused with a more abstract, Western exhibitionist drumming technique. The studio recital collection of solo and ensemble percussion which begins with Wang Yi-dong's composition for "prepared" east-west mixture of instruments, is also rich in elegant and disciplined statements. Seven works follow alternating between originals by the China National Symphony Orchestra member and his arrangements and interpretations of other compositions such as Carlos Chavez's "Toccata." "Night Dance," "Quartalogue," "Sketches of Tianshan," and "Clamorous Flower Drums of the Lantern Festival," for example, are all evocative of their titles but are clearly sighting on metaphor rather than realism.
With Yi-dong are a team of nine younger musicians, likely students, who vary in number on each performance. Traditional Chinese drums such as the tang-gu, zhan-gu, ban-gu and pai-gu integrate with gongs, timpani, cymbals, tambourine, tubular bells, Brazilian bell, maracas, piano and others to create a set that is both organic - at times meditative and pastoral - and spaciously if somewhat finickly clean. It is a record that favors more the demands of playing scores accurately than the infinitely interesting uncertainties of improvisation. Whether or not this CD is rustic enough, the recording is a clear and unadulterated triumph. Documented at the PLA Orchestra Studio in Beijing, this 24-bit production tackles the full range of sonic vocabulary and renders them with superb focus, realism, warmth, depth and musicality. A great sounding, 61+ minute percussion CD. - Steve Taylor
Audio: Wang Yi-dong "Clamorous Flower Drums of the Lantern Festival"
©2000 Hugo, China, used by permission
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