Yim Hok-Man
Poems of Thunder: The Master Chinese Percussionist
Naxos World (www.hnh.com)

cd cover This CD contains both percussion-only set pieces and music from other arenas (such as Beijing Opera), where the percussion accompanies a larger orchestra. Despite the title (in Chinese the cover reads "Number One Drum"), the pieces where the drum plays a supporting role outshine the "show-off" numbers. The problem with the percussion-only pieces is that they sound too precise, composed, somewhat sterile. The tasteful studio sound does not help. The more raucous orchestral numbers, especially the final cut, "Triumphal Return of the Fishing Boats," are much more exhilarating. The skimpy notes are a minus. It's impossible to get a good grasp of the context in which these pieces are played. It is essential to have informative notes when the album contains a diverse range of styles as on this one. - John Cho

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