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Classical Music Review

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Resonating Colours 5


Composers: Hong Kong Composers’ Guild
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 26 July 2019

Navona Records release Resonating Colours 5, which sees the Hong Kong Composers' Guild performing works by a number of modern composers.

Wong Hok-yeung opens with 'Night Poem', a composition for cello and piano. Chan Chin-ting offers two pieces for solo violin: 'Cross-Currents', an exploration of the violin's full tonal range, and 'Postcards', an assortment of, in the composer's words, "six miniatures/musical gifts," which, quite like the name suggests, can be played as standalone pieces, but also feature a common theme that unites them.

Lee Kar-tai's 'Pyrus Flower in the Rain' is a minimalist evocation of temporality. 'Stretch of Light, a contrabass quintet' by Chen Yeung-ping, starts out with drawn-out notes more reminiscent of fragmented Indian raga music than of Chinese composition. 'Dyeing, a trio for violin, clarinet, and cello' by Au Tin-yung was inspired by an anecdote experienced by the ancient Chinese philosopher Mozi, who was mesmerized by the process of colouring fabric.

Seasonal changes are at the heart of 'November Winds' by Ng Chun-hoi, a string quartet as ephemeral as the annual variances in weather and nature. This impression is counterbalanced by another work by the composer, 'Prelude II, a tonal composition for two guitars' which employs the instruments in both a melodic and percussive fashion.

Finally, Wong Chun-wai's 'Clouds in Twilight' rounds off the album with an atmospheric meditation on a sunset.

There's a little bit of something for every taste here. Although it's questionable whether anyone will truly enjoy every track on this release - the styles are so diverse. While this is one the album's strengths. It's also one of its weak points. It's modern, it's fresh, and will appeal to serious collectors of modern classical music.

Track listing:

Wong Hok-yeung Alfred
01 - Night Poem for cello and piano (2001) (8:20)
Wolfgang Nüßlein (cello), Mary Wu (piano)

Chan Chin-ting
02 - Cross-currents for solo violin (2015) (8:21)
Chen Yu-fang (violin),

Chan Chin-ting
03 - Postcards for solo violin (2017) (8:11)
Chen Yu-fang (violin)
I. Andante moderato, II. Frantic; tempo giusto, III. Lento; tenerezza, IV. Scherzando, V. Allegro, VI. Leggiero; tempo giusto

Lee Kar-tai Phoebus
04 - Pyrus Flower in Rain for solo piano (2011) (7:09)
Lee Kar-tai Phoebus (piano)

Chen Yeung-ping
05 - Stretch of Light for contrabass quintet (2013-15) (10:48)
UCSD Bass Ensemble
Chen Yeung-ping (conductor)
Mark Dresser, Matthew Kline, Kyle Motl, Thomas Babin and Timothy McNally (contrabass)

Ng Chun-hoi Daniel
06 - Prelude II (Wuxing Interaction) for two guitars (2013) (4:27)
Clarence Mak (guitar), Ng Chun-hoi Daniel (guitar II)

Au Tin-yung Alex
07 - Dyeing for violin, clarinet and cello (2017) (8:50)
Concorde Ensemble
Aoife Ni Bhriain (violin), Paul Roe (clarinet) and Martin Johnson (cello)

Ng Chun-hoi Daniel
08 - November Winds for string quartet (1991) (5:33)
Cheung Chung-wang (first violin), Ray Tsoi (second violin) Kan Pak-kin (viola) and Betty Tang (violoncello)

Wong Chun-wai
09 - Clouds in Twilight for orchestra (2015) (11:57)
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Bright Sheng (conductor)


Darren Rea

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