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Classical Music Review

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Ergo: New Music for Piano & Chinese Folk Instruments


Composer: Zhen Chen
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 14 April 2017

Pianist and composer Zhen Chen releases his album Ergo through Navona Records. Here he makes a contribution to the decades-long legacy of composers blending Chinese and western instruments and musical materials...

At times I was reminded of the work of Tamiya Terashima (most notably his work for the anime movie Tales from Earthsea) while listening to Ergo: New Music for Piano & Chinese Folk Instruments. So as well as having a ready audience in classical music, this album should also appeal to collector's of anime scores.

Ergo places piano alongside two of the most familiar traditional Chinese instruments to Western audiences: the pipa – a kind of Chinese lute – and the erhu – a bowed Chinese string instrument. It's a wonderfully diverse album containing 10 tracks (41 min, 44 sec), which at times can overload the listener with an abundance of new and interesting sounds.

If you're looking for something a little quirky there's 'Dance Floor Banter'. If vocal numbers are your thing, then there's the beautiful 'Lament' (without lyrics) or 'Plum Blossom Chant'. For a traditional sounding eastern flavour, there's 'Jade' and 'Stroll By The Lake'.


Darren Rea

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