Tuesday, February 7, 2017
The Myths of China, Timeless Tales from the Shan Hai Jing, Zhang Zhao
Zhang Zhao is responsible for the music on the album,. Some 11 tales are arranged for traditional Chinese instruments, full orchestra and choir, taking traditional pentatonic Chinese strains and fleshing them out into a symphonic program that delights the ears for its expressive beauty, neither exactly modern nor Western as much as tradition inspired.
If Ravel were Chinese, this might be what his "Daphnis and Chloe" might have sounded like. That is an oversimplification, yet there is a myth-into-music mystery about it all, and Ravel's work might be the closest Western equivalent.
The audio quality is impeccable, the music and performance in their own way exceptional and the booklet with illustrations of the myths and a few in English translations is quite stunning.
This will bring to you an enchanted world, a mythical sonic adventure of the highest sort, and a telling example of what traditional-modern Chinese newcomers are doing these days.