East Meets West

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bright Sheng,Ma Shui-long & Chen Yi,Tanj Jianping
WORKS: Chinese Recorder Concertos by Tanj Jianping, Bright Sheng, Ma Shui-long & Chen Yi
PERFORMER: Michala Petri (recorder); Copenhagen Philharmonic/Lan Shui
CATALOGUE NO: 6.220603


This is not the first Chinese collaboration by the Danish recorder virtuoso Michala Petri, but it’s the most interesting yet. Inspired by their country’s rich variety of flute traditions, these four concertos reflect the way China’s composers are melding their musical heritage with the symphonic one of Western Europe and America. And they also reflect the thoroughness with which Chinese composers have transcended the privations of those terrible years when they were condemned to hard labour in the countryside.

Tang Jianping’s Fei Ge draws on the folk music of the Hmong, but has at times a confident, almost Broadway lushness of sound; Sheng’s Flute Moon calls on all Petri’s virtuosity, plus that of the Danish orchestra’s piccolo player; Ma Shui-Iong’s Bamboo Flute Concerto is initially relentlessly cheerful, before moving into a graceful echo of 20th-century English pastoralism.


The three movements of Chen Yi’s The Ancient Chinese Beauty – the most original of these works – use Petri’s three recorders to reflect the respective timbres and tone-colours of three very different Chinese flutes. Each of these works has its own charm; each will help to build China’s still-evolving indigenous symphonic tradition. Michael Church