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Why not skip Wieniawski once in a while? Programme Ma Sicong instead.
This suite's first movement titled Epic
[listen -- track 4, 0:00-1:23]
is well-named and opens with a series of cadenza-style flourishes interspersed with bold piano declamations (0:00-2:12) leading eventually to the Kangding Love song, repeated at increasing tempi till its concluding dash. The central movement, Nostalgia, also related to the Kangding song has a disarming pastorale sound while the last movement, Dances beyond the Frontier, introduces a further joyful folk song, Jiao Daniang.
Lullaby -- Bai Zi Diao (1935)
[listen -- track 7, 0:00-1:13]
is precisely as its name suggests and put to use in the nursery in preference to Johannes Brahms' Wiegenlied: (Guten Abend, gute Nacht), Op 49, No 4, it may well prove more effective than the German counterpart.
In immediate contrast, Lantern Festival Dance (1952) is a straightforward toe-tapping romp.
The Taiwanese Amei Suite (1981) consists of five largely contemplative moods of nature, each one less than a minute and a half in duration. Here the titles ('Spring', 'Solitude', 'Mountain Song', 'Moon' and 'Dancing along the Hillside') say it all, and these artists perform each poetic fragment to the manner born.
Copyright © 4 March 2008
Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand