"...The Metropolis Ensemble of New York and conductor Andrew Cyr are important up and coming contributors to the new music scene. I had never heard of Vivian Fung before but I am anxious to hear more. The fact that she is Canadian and that Naxos has this marketed this as one of their “Canadian Classics” series may be the vehicle to get her music out there. The fact that she is, clearly, a very creative and skilled composer is all I need to recommend this without hesitation." ****
Daniel Coombs - Audiophile Audition.com - 16 February 2013
"This latest release, three fine works by Chinese-Canadian Vivian Fung, is…formal orthodoxy, broadly tonal melody, exciting rhythms, splashes of exotica. Add to this the terrific playing heard here—especially by the two young soloists, both superb on their Naxos debuts in music that is mentally as well as physically demanding—and the result is a disc that is every inch a Canadian classic. The opening Violin Concerto is a good introduction to Fung, offering an immediate vista of her understated but brilliant orchestration and her technically demanding but musically riveting writing for the violin. A work for solo ‘prepared’ piano may seem an odd filling for a concerto sandwich, but Glimpses employs such a range of sounds in its three sections that the effect is almost orchestral…Fung’s writing is altogether more listener-friendly and decidedly less pretentious ... never failing to keep the listener’s attention."
Byzantion - MusicWeb-International.com - February 2013
"This is a cutting-edge album in the best sense, an invigorating indication of where we are in classical music. Fung’s music is fluid and seemingly improvisatory yet cunningly constructed. The Eastern and Western gestures blend so smoothly that they sound like one entity ..."
Jack Sullivan - American Record Guide - January 2013
"Exciting, skilfully put together music with many exoticisms ..."
Peter Grahame Woolf - Musical Pointers - January 2013
"Violinist Kristin Lee’s performance of the first concerto is technically brilliant. But what’s even more important, her sensitive phrasing and pacing give it emotional as well as intellectual appeal. A true champion of contemporary music, pianist Conor Hanick’s renditions of the other selections are equally spectacular. Also, considering the stigma sometimes associated with prepared pianos, he gets great credit for his artistic adventurousness and versatility. Both soloists receive magnificent support from up-and-coming conductor Andrew Cyr and the Metropolis Ensemble. All its members not only turn in virtuosic performances, but faithfully follow their extracurricular instructions to the letter... all these recordings are demonstration quality, making this CD one of the most spectacular to come along in some time. Brilliant orchestration featuring some exotic percussion, the unusual variety of sounds indigenous to prepared pianos, and the other Cageian devices present light up this disc like a Christmas tree! The instrumental timbre is characterized by crystal-clear highs, a musical midrange and low well-defined bass. Our soloists are perfectly placed and balanced against the ideally arrayed twenty-eight member Metropolis Ensemble. The Naxos recording engineers get a big gold star for this one!"
Bob McQuiston - Classical Lost and Found - September 2012
"...Vivian Fung emerges as a fully evolved compositional voice in this recording ... Her Violin Concerto initially feels like a descendant of William Walton, with its tough, flinty harmonies and rhythmic drive. Soon, though, Fung is in her own more intimate, often pensive, but frequently playful sound world, which indeed lives up to the album’s title. Soloist Kristin Lee, locally heard in concerts presented by Astral Artists, outdoes herself with refined quality of sound and precision of expression... Glimpses is tuneful and fun…At every point in the disc, Fung has a strong sense of thematic control and structural overview that suggests more great things to come."
David Patrick Stearns - The Philadelphia Inquirer - October 2012
"The Chinese Canadian composer Vivian Fung writes music infused with the sounds of Asian tradition…The scales and rhythms of Balinese and Javanese gamelan suffuse the three pieces represented here, and they lend the music a welcome lyricism and grace. Yet the further Fung strays from that stylistic foundation, the more fascinating and rewarding her music becomes. The…Violin Concerto that leads off the disc boasts a certain winsome charm, especially in the fluid performance of soloist Kristin Lee…To hear how much more Fung is capable of, go right to the final Piano Concerto, in a powerhouse rendition featuring soloist Conor Hanick. Here at last is music of dramatic urgency and depth, in which Fung draws on ideas from gamelan while also adding plenty of her own original material—clangorous, dissonant harmonies, off-kilter rhythms and a sense of wild unpredictability. "
Joshua Kosman - San Francisco Chronicle - September 2012
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