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Chinese Masterpieces of the Pipa and Quin *
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Album: Chinese Masterpieces of the Pipa and Quin *
# Song Title   Time
1)    Flowing Water
2)    White Snow in Sunny Spring
3)    Wild Geese Descending on the Sandy Beach
4)    Dragon Boat
5)    Dance of the Yi People
6)    Flute and Drum at Sunset
7)    Three Variations on the Plum Blossom
8)    Ambushed on All Sides
 

Album: Chinese Masterpieces of the Pipa and Quin *
# Song Title   Time
1)    Flowing Water
2)    White Snow in Sunny Spring
3)    Wild Geese Descending on the Sandy Beach
4)    Dragon Boat
5)    Dance of the Yi People
6)    Flute and Drum at Sunset
7)    Three Variations on the Plum Blossom
8)    Ambushed on All Sides
 
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Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Cheng Yu (pipa); Wang Ciheng, Li Xiangting (flute).
  • U.K.-based Chinese musician Cheng Yu has created a series of albums over the past few years, largely built around her pipa skills, but also including the results of her work with the historic, but only reconstructed (by Cheng herself) five-string qin. Here, there are some performances with both of her instruments. The album opens with an excellent old (composed in 1425) piece of qin music evocative of "flowing water" that moves from gentle burbling via plucks on to massive turbulence via metal-like strumming. The pipa makes an appearance with the following piece with a bit more tempo but maybe less energy. The qin returns for a more contemplative piece of program music in combination with the xiao flute, courtesy of Cheng's old teacher Li Xiangting. More pipa music forms the core of the album from this point, with three regional pieces from the Southern (and Southwestern) parts of China. These pieces manage to evoke anticipation, excitement, joy, and enchantment on the strength of the old compositions. The civil style of pipa composition is additionally laid out beautifully with "Flute and Drum at Sunset," mixing the usually frenetic nature of the pipa (short, staccato notes) with a slower-paced composition and the extended tones of the xiao. This is followed by the second piece from the classic Shenqi Mipu scores (the first being "Flowing Water"), a more contemplative work built around variations on a theme of nobility. The album ends on the martial style of pipa playing, diametrically opposite the civil style, with dramatic rushes of the strings, violent and frenetic passages, and a generally overpowerful approach. This is also the type of music that the pipa is perhaps best known for in the West (from the various renditions of "Hero's Defeat," "Ambushed on Ten Sides," etc). Cheng's playing on the pipa isn't as revolutionary, as exciting as some of the other contemporary players on the scene (Wu Man, for example), but her additional qin skills more than make up for that. This album is a great addition to the collection of any fan of Chinese classical. ~ Adam Greenberg
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