Ambush on all Sides - Zhang Hong Yan
Channel of China CCS SA 80106
"Ambush on all Sides"
Zhang Hong Yan (pipa solo)
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Producer: C. Jared Sacks and Zhang Hong Yan
Recording engineer/editing: C. Jared Sacks
Assistant recording engineer: Hanying Feng
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer 4066, Schoeps MK2
Digital converter: DSD Super Audio/Meitner Pyramix Editing/Merging Technologies
Recorded at Beijing Concert Hall, August 2005
Review by John Broggio - February 24, 2009
A wonderful disc from Channel Classics of traditional Chinese music played with great conviction and style.
The instrument that stars here is the pipa, which according to the notes is one of the oldest of Chinese instruments with documents in existence from as far back as 2BC describing the instrument and its music. During its development into what we have today, the pipa incorporates (and it sounds like it too at times) aspects of the oud. There are, as one might expect given its long history, over 60 different playing techniques and some of these are feature on the disc presented here.
Zhang Hong Yan is the player on this disc and one may hear her in Tug at China's Heartstrings directing the Central Music Academy Orchestra of Plucked Instruments in a disc that deserves to become as popular and famous as Balalaika Favorites - Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra. That she is a master of the instrument and her art is beyond question and she vividly brings to life the many accounts of Chinese folklore as depicted in the nine songs on this disc. Perhaps most compelling of all is the final "King Chu doffs his armour" in which the eponymous King loses a battle, kills his wife and finally commits suicide with a most brutally stabbed chord.
The sound is stunningly clear and very vivid - every pluck is audible yet this serves the music rather than providing pure titillation for the ears (though it is very fine on that account too!)
Copyright © 2009 John Broggio and HRAudio.net