This fascinating disc from China is the second release in the new Acoustic World series and presents classical repertoire led by four exponents of different traditions: Lin Youren, Wu Man, Li Jinwen, and Xuan Ke.
Wu Man, the internationally renowned pipa virtuoso, is arguably Chinese classical music’s most famous artist. Now resident in New York she is as active in contemporary music as in the traditional repertoire, pushing the boundaries of Chinese music. Three exquisite pieces from her ensemble appear on this disc.
Master of the qin zither, Lin Youren resists forced modernisation, and gives us a tantalising glimpse into the past. But, in the best traditions of music cross-fertilisation, he gives us a gentle nod to English football fans in his Improvisation for Michael Owen – a piece inspired by the singing in the pub where he was himself watching England play Argentina in the 1998 World Cup!
Xuan Ke and the Dayan Ancient Music Association play music derived from old ritual music festivals by Dongjing religious Associations. They play some instruments not found anywhere else – the reedpipe bobo and the plucked lute suguda.
Li Jinwen leads a group of musicians playing “sheng-guan” music for wind and percussion. Sheng-guan is still popular in folk rituals today as is singing and the vocal setting of “Geese crossing over the southern mansion” is one of the highlights of this compilation.