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Chinese Traditional Erhu Music Vol. 2

Lei Qiang

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Album Review

Chinese Traditional Erhu Music, Vol. 2, recorded in March 1997, is Lei Qiang's second album since he resettled in Montreal, Canada and his second opus for the label Oliver Sudden. Just like the first volume, released two years earlier, Qiang is accompanied by the Shaanxi Provincial Song & Dance Troupe, conducted by Zhou Yu Guo. The orchestra seems to have been scaled down a bit, although that may only be the result of a more careful recording which gives a roomier, more detailed, less cluttered overall sound. Pipa, yang-qin, zhang, flute, and hand-held percussion form most of the back-up instrumentation, the erhu taking lead melodies and solos throughout. The erhu, a two-string vertical violin, has a thin, sinuous sound that can also evoke the Iranian kamantcha or the much more modern Stroh violin (a Western invention of the late 19th century). The absence of frets allows the flowing microtonal movement that gives it its mystical, and profoundly Chinese, voice. For this second set, Qiang has selected a somewhat lighter repertoire of folk songs, crossing the Chinese fence to pick a few cherries from Taiwanese ("Thinking of the Past") and Tibetan trees ("The Hill Looks Like a Bottle"). Most pieces last two to three minutes and feature a delicate melody backed by tasteful (yet predictable) arrangements. There is one exception: the closing "Nostalgia." Longer (at seven minutes), more complex, and taking the form of a short concerto (cadenza included), it is more erudite but also quite poignant, providing an unexpected finale to this elegant album. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Lei Qiang is an erhu player (an ancient Chinese violin) with a classical/traditional background. Since he emigrated to Canada in 1993, he has had an active career both in traditional and pop circles, releasing solo CDs, recording on albums by Quebec singers Robert Charlebois, Bruno...
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Chinese Traditional Erhu Music Vol. 2, Lei Qiang
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: World, Music, Asia
  • Released: 15 December 1998

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