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Chinese New Year

Celebrate Chinese New Year

Celebrate Chinese New Year with a wide range of Chinese themed titles on Naxos Direct, including the brand new series ‘Folk Music of China’, now available on the new Naxos World label.
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Image Chinese Cities and Provinces
Image Chinese Cities and Provinces
Image Chinese Cities and Provinces
Image Chinese Cities and Provinces
Image Chinese Cities and Provinces
Image Chinese Traditional & Contemporary Music
Image Chinese Buddhist Music of Tianjin
Image Chinese Traditional and Contemporary Music
Image Chinese Naxi Music from Lijiang
Image Chinese Music for the Qin Zither
Image Chinese Chinese Traditional & Contemporary - Music
Image Chinese Buddhist Music of Tianjin & Naxi Music fro
Image Evening Song - Traditional Chinese Music
Image Chinese Music For Flute
Image Trombone Fantasy
On this disc Christian Lindberg joins the Taipei Chinese Orchestra in a programme of works for trombone and Chinese orchestra. The disc also includes one of his own works for the orchestra, inspired by the poetic sounds of the Chinese instruments: The Wild Rose. Also by Lindberg, Kundraan was originally composed for trombone and chamber orchestra but was re-arranged for this disc. Yiu-Kwong Chung has here adapted a famous aria from the Peking opera Cursing General Cao Cao into a striking piece in which the solo trombone is supported by the traditional trio of Peking Opera (clapper and drum, descant fiddle and lute) and orchestra. For the Mongolian Fantasy, a couple of traditional songs and typical Mongolian throat-singing technique have provided the starting point. Recueillement focuses on the first and last lines of Baudelaire's poem.

Image Various: Chinese Recorder
OUR Recordings is proud to announce the third installment in their pioneering ''Dialogue - East Meets West'' series. The music of many of China's greatest living composers and musicians remains unknown outside of their homeland. As a part of their ongoing series, ''Dialogue - East Meets West'', Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal, provide the opportunity for Western and Chinese musicians and composers to creatively collaborate in a truly international, musical dialogue. Chinese Recorder Concertos features four contemporary masterworks by Chinese, Chinese-American and Taiwanese composers recorded in stunning SACD sound.

Image CHU / LIU / SHENG / SHI / XU / YIN: The Yellow Riv
Yellow River Concerto

Happy Loso

Colourful CloudsChasing the Moon (Cantonese folk song)

Seven Short PiecesBased on Inner-Mongolian Folk Songs

Four Dances from TheMermaid Ballet Suite

Red Lilies Crimson andBright

Three Variations on anAncient Chinese Melody

Throughout the long history of China music has occupied an importantposition, in earlier times not least in its association with ceremonies ofultimate political significance. For the new rulers of China who came to powerin 1949, music continued to have a significant r??le to play in society and inpolitical education. This resulted in inevitable limitations and restrictions,while certain acceptable works enjoyed enormous popularity. One of these, the YellowRiver Concerto, was based on the famous Yellow River Cantata, a workdating from the period of the Sino-Japanese War. In November 1938, after thefall of Wuhan to the Japanese, the famous poet Guang Weiran (Zhang Guangnian)led the Third Resistance Theatre Troupe eastward across the Yellow River to thecentre of anti-Japanese resistance in the Luliang Mountains of Shanxi province.

At the ferry near Hukou (Kettle Mouth), where the waters of the Yellow Riverflow down from a narrow gorge to form a magnificent waterfall, he listened tothe sound of the wind and the waves. When he reached Yanan in January 1939, hewrote the poem sequence Yellow River and recited it at a party on theeve of the Spring Festival. Greatly excited by what he had heard, Xian Xinghaiexpressed a desire to set the poems to music for the Theatre Troupe. Shelteringin a cave, the composer worked for six days without rest, to finish the vocalwork that has come to occupy a leading place in contemporary Chinese music. Thecantata was first performed on 13th April the same year and was soon to beheard throughout China as a symbol of resistance.

Xian Xinghai himself was born in Macau in 1905, the son of a fisherman.

After the death of his father he studied in Singapore, supported by his mother,who worked as a laundress at his school. He later returned to study in Canton.

His musical training, which he had started in Beijing, continued at theShanghai Conservatory and in 1930 in Paris as a pupil of Vincent d'Indy. Hereturned to China in 1935, to be involved in active resistance against theJapanese. In 1939 he joined the Communist Party and spent the years from 1940until his death in 1945 in Moscow.

The concerto derived from the Yellow River Cantata was devised bythe committee of composers then found advisable for such a task, Yin Chengzong,Liu Zhang, Chu Wanghua, Sheng Lihong, Shi Shucheng and Xu Feisheung. With asolo piano texture recalling the Warsaw Concerto as much as Rachmaninov,the work condenses the cantata, but carries the same heroic message. There arethemes representing anger, grace and nostalgia, illustrating various stages inthe story of the Yellow River, a symbol of Chinese civilisation, a source offertility but at the same time a force of nature that offered a certain dangerand had to be controlled by human effort. At the opening piano arpeggiosrepresent the waves of the river, leading to a strong and simple melodyassociated with the boatmen on the river, struggling against the forces ofnature. The second movement, introduced by a cello melody, depicts the grandeur of the scenery through which theriver passes and the achievement of the Chinese people in several thousandyears of civilisation. The third movement opens with a flute solo, in the styleof a Shanbei folk-song. The piano introduces the rhythmic Yellow Water melody.

Suddenly the mood changes and the river grows angry, the challenge offered bythe Yellow River a counterpart to the challenge offered by a foreign aggressor.

The final movement opens with the patriotic melody Defend the Yellow River, leadingto the triumph of The East is Red and the National Song, joining invictory.

The ballet TheMermaid, a work that won almost as much popularity, was written by DuMingxin and Wu Zuqiang, the former the composer of The Red Detachment ofWomen. The movement titles from the orchestral suite derived from theballet are self-explanatory, leading to the customary triumphant conclusion.

The work itself enjoyed considerable popularity and formed part of conventionalChinese repertoire at a time when this was otherwise restricted.

In addition to musicthat may have some extra-?¡musical moral to convey, such as Happy Loso inwhich the old man's happiness is attributable to predictable circumstances,folk-songs, often with words adapted to the new conditions of life, haveprovided a ready source of material. Colourful Clouds Chasing the Moon isbased on a Cantonese folk-tune, as are the seven short pieces based onfolk-songs from Inner Mongolia and Red Lilies Crimson and Bright. The ThreeVariations on an Ancient Chinese Melody suggest another thematic source forcontemporary reworking, in an idiom that remains thoroughly accessible to theaverage Chinese listener, a necessary prerequisite.

Keith Anderson

Image Ten Chinese Guanzi Classics
Image Horn Fusion
Image Scenes From China
Image Dances From China
Image Echoes Of China
This recording showcases both the rich variety and the sonic surprises to be heard in contemporary Chinese piano music. Myth and landscape loom large. Pulitzer Prize-winner Zhou Long's Pianobells takes legend as its inspiration in an evocation of sonorous bells borne on the wind. For Doming Lam the goal is reinterpreting Chinese ancient melodies and imitating gongs and drums to evoke the atmosphere of Chinese opera. For GRAMMY® Award-winner Tan Dun, his Eight Memories are a 'diary of longing' - musical watercolours inspired by folk music.

Image Chinary Ung: Music Vol.3
Image Eight Visions
Image Adams: Nixon In China
A longtime collaborator of John Adams and champion of his music, Marin Alsop directs this live recording of Opera Colorado's 25th Anniversary Celebration production of Nixon in China, presented at Denver's new Ellie Caulkins Opera House during the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention, and featuring an internationally recognized cast.

Alice Goodman's epic libretto and John Adams's distinctive music weave together a colourful fabric of actual events from President Nixon's historic visit to the People's Republic of China with intimate examinations of the opera's real life characters.

The spectacle, drama, humor and pathos of this masterpiece remain as compelling today as when the opera was premiered in 1987.

\[The] performance, brilliantly conducted by Marin Alsop and delivered by a strong cast led by baritone Robert Orth in the title role... Alsop, a proven master of Adams' style both early and late, led a dynamic performance... Conducting the Colorado Symphony, she shepherded her forces nimbly." San Francisco Chronicle concert review"

Image Music of Chinary Ung Volume 1
Image HOPE, Bob: Thanks for the Memo
Image Xian Xing-hi: Yellow River Cantata
Image SEEGER: Vocal, Chamber and Instrumental Works
Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-1953)

Vocal and Chamber Music

A remarkable pioneering figure of the Americanmodernist movement, Ruth Crawford was born in EastLiverpool, Ohio in 1901. The daughter and granddaughterof ministers, the young Ruth lived in variouslocations before settling in Jacksonville, Florida, whereshe received a serious musical education and started toteach piano. In 1921 she came to the rich culturalclimate of Chicago to pursue compositional studies atthe American Conservatory. Her composition teacher,the German-born composer and violinist Adolf Weidig,encouraged her non-traditional explorations. Anotherextremely influential mentor was her piano teacher, thecharismatic Djane Lavoie Herz, a woman of wideknowledge and interests, who had been a student ofArtur Schnabel and Alexander Scriabin. The Herzesheld regular soirees, attended by prominent intellectualsand musicians, including Henry Cowell and DaneRudhyar, who were to take a special interest inCrawford. The Herzes also introduced her to Theosophyand non-Western thought. Another Chicago friend,Alfred Frankenstein, later a prominent critic, introducedher to recent European music, and was responsible forher meeting the celebrated poet Carl Sandburg, whobecame a close friend and inspired her own passion forwriting poetry. She was to set many of Sandburg'spoems in her compositions.

In 1929 Ruth Crawford moved to New York, havingalready had well-received performances in Chicago andNew York, and publication of her Piano Preludes inCowell's New Music Edition. The indomitable Cowellpersuaded a skeptical Charles Seeger, Cowell's formerteacher and a composer and ethnomusicologist of keenintellect and originality, to accept her as a pupil. Thesame year she was named the first woman to receive aGuggenheim Fellowship in composition. She spent1930-31 abroad, primarily in Berlin, travelledextensively, and was received warmly and respectfullyby such notables as Alban Berg, Bela Bartok, JosefMatthias Hauer, Arthur Honegger, Albert Roussel, andNadia Boulanger.

Upon returning to America, Ruth Crawford andSeeger married and established their home in NewYork. Mike was born in 1933, with Peggy, Barbara, andPenelope to follow. (The well-known folk-singer PeteSeeger, Charles's son by his first marriage, was twelveat the time of Ruth and Charles's marriage.) Life wasdifficult for the Seegers during the Depression; theirintense concern with society's plight drew them toleftist causes, such as the Composers' Collective, whichthey helped organize. Deeply committed to music of thepeople, the Seegers also worked on settings of Americanfolk-music for the collections of John and Alan Lomax.

In 1935 the family moved to Silver Spring,Maryland. With the responsibilities of raising a bigfamily, composing became impossible during thisperiod of her life, but she energetically pursued musicalprojects that could be accomplished in more manageableunits of time. She and Charles transcribed thousands offield recordings in the American folk-song archive ofthe Library of Congress; she was active as a pianoteacher and taught music in several nursery schools, andshe wrote her own folk-song books for children, whichare still popular. (Their children Mike and Peggy wereto become noted folk musicians.) Except for her onesymphonic work, the short folk-inspired Rissolty,Rossolty, commissioned and broadcast by CBS in 1941,she completed no compositions from 1933 to the early1950s. In 1952 she wrote the Suite for Wind Quintet fora competition (which she won), but shortly after, herhealth took a devastating turn. In the summer of 1953cancer was diagnosed, and her life was tragically cutshort later that year.

Ruth Crawford Seeger's compositional career isstrikingly divided into two phases, separated by herstudies beginning in 1929 with Charles Seeger. Herearliest mature compositions, dating from about 1924,show strong influences of post-Romanticism andimpressionism, and, in the restless, ambiguousharmonies and mystical aura, particularly the music ofScriabin. Slow movements are often dark and brooding,and fast movements are filled with exuberant themes,developed in an improvisatory spirit.

The earliest major work on this recording, theSonata for Violin and Piano (1925-26) has a dramatichistory. Although it had been received extremelyfavourably, the composer mysteriously burned the work,along with many of her poems, in the early 1930s,perhaps because Charles had been highly critical of herearly work. Years later, her former student Vivian Finefound that she had a copy of the Sonata and \repremiered"it in 1982.

The Suite for Five Wind Instruments and Piano wascomposed in 1927 and extensively revised in 1929under Charles Seeger's guidance. First heard in a privateconcert of her music presented by her New York patronBlanche Walton in 1930, the Suite languished for manyyears, considered problematic for its two versions, andwas first performed publicly only in 1975.

As the composer began to work with Charles Seegerher music became much more concentrated. Eachmovement is restricted to a single idea developedintensively. The structures become more sharply etched,the musical lines more controlled in their dissonance,the conceptions more daring. This was the period of herwork with such experimental techniques as serialism,tone-clusters, Sprechstimme, rhythmic independence ofparts, numerical orderings, and spatial separation ofperforming factions.

The four Diaphonic Suites, composed in 1930 forsolo or duo wind/string combinations, and the PianoStudy in Mixed Accents (1930) were compositionaletudes, intended to perfect the technique of"dissonating" long melodic lines - that is, propelling theharmonic tension, without respite, from first to last note.

Her long-range control of dissonance and mastery ofform reached perfection in Three Songs (1930, 1932).

This bold, original work is performed by two groupsindependent of each other: a "concertante" of voice,oboe, percussion, piano, and an "ostinato" of thirteenplayers, seated as far as possible from the soloists.

While the songs can also be performed in a versionwithout the ostinato, its presence adds a rich and oftenbizarre dimension, befitting Sandburg's evocativepoems.

Crawford Seeger's last work before the hiatus in hercomposing was Two Ricercari: Sacco, Vanzetti andChinaman, Laundryman (1932), composed for aComposers' Collective concert. The texts deal with themiseries of exploited immigrants and the notoriousSacco-Vanzetti trial of 1921 (in which two Italian-Americans were executed for the murder of a guardduring a robbery, for which it was widely believed theywere innocent). To project the impassioned text, shecombined singing with Sprechstimme (a cross betweensinging and speaking, where only a relative vocalcontour is indicated, not specific pitches).

Other major works by Crawford Seeger are NinePiano Preludes (1924-28), Suite for Small Orchestra(1926), Suite for Piano and Strings (l929), Five Songs(1929), Three Chants for chorus (1930), her greatmasterpiece String Quartet (1931), Rissolty, Rossoltyfor orchestra (c.1941), and Suite for Wind Quintet(1952). For decades Ruth Crawford Seeger was knownalmost exclusively through her later, more avant-gardecompositions. In recent years, more of her earlier workshave been published and performed, making possible are-evaluation and deeper appreciation of this uniquevoice in American music.

Cheryl Seltzer

?® 2005 Continuum

Image Jones: The Geisha
Image CORIGLIANO: Symphony No. 2 / The Red Violin Suite
Image SHENG: China Dreams / Nanking Nanking
Image Swordsmen of China
Image Shanghai Phiharmonic Orchestra
Image Image
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