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  Channel of China -
  CCS SA 80206
  Erhu Chant - Yu Hong Mei
  "Erhu Chant"

Yu Hong Mei (erhu)
Wulin konghou (chinese harp)
Liu Yin Xuan yang qin (chinese cymbalo)
Chen Zhe (piano)
Track listing:
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 2

Review by seowfun March 26, 2007 (9 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
As a long time amatuer erhu player, I'm very familiar with almost all, except "A Bunch of Flowers", of the pieces in this sacd. I own many redbook CDs for erhu music, but this is the first erhu SACD music I own. What I can say is the recording quality of this disc easily surpass anything else that I had. The recording successfully capture the warmth and unique tonality of the instrument. In case you're wondering about this, erhu has a darker and more human-like tone than say, violin. I prefer the multi-channel mix, as it gives a more spatial feel to the music. But the 2-channel mix is excellent as well.

The performance is first rate. As a musical instrument, erhu is not as refined as violin. It is not easy to even just produce clean and smooth sound with this instrument. In many recordings I had, even by those erhu masters, I can hear rough or slightly out of tune sound here and there. In this recording, I've yet to catch that. Yu also did a great job in expressing the emotions of the music with this simple 2-string instrument. Wheareas its the peace and leisureness in "Idyllic Tune", the sadness in "Weeping River of Sorrow", the cheerfulness in "Harvest of Grapes", and the grandness and strength in "Shanmenxia Gorge", Yu successfully conveys the emotions of these pieces. The accompaniments are great too. The chinese harp in the "Idyllic Tune" is sweet. In few cases, they may have overpowered the erhu a little bit, but most of the time, they're well balanced.

Overall, highly recommended. I had high expectation for this disc because the pipa "Ambush" disc by Channel Classics was outstanding, and I am not dissappointed. If you like erhu music, this is the disc to get. If you'd like to get a taste of how "Chinese Violin" (i.e. erhu) sound like, this is a great disc to try. If you do, listen carefully to the vibrato of erhu. It can be quite intense :)

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Review by Beagle April 13, 2008 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  

I confess that I am at heart a 'westerner' but my appreciation of music extends well beyond the borders of Europe. I adore the erhu and its music and most of this disc satisfies my desire to enjoy that sound on SACD.

But not all of it.

This disc contains several works which include piano in the instrumentation, and to my western ears those works fall out of their native world and into a limbo between Orient and Occident -- not because of the presence of the piano, but because of the style of the music. To be blunt, they sound like 'western wanna-bees', i.e. unsuccessful emulations of 19th century European piano composition. I hope my criticism is not too tainted by my occidental bias, but when I order non-western music, I expect non-western music.

[3 stars for "content", not performance]

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