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Shih-Hui Chen: 66 Times - The Voice of Pines & Cedars
     

Shih-Hui Chen: 66 Times - The Voice of Pines & Cedars

by Rose
 
Shih-Hui Chen is an American composer born and raised in Taiwan, and has served as an assistant professor of composition at the Shepherd School of Music of Rice University in Houston, TX. Albany's Shih-Hui Chen: 66 Times is the first recording of Chen's music, though she has been active in the United States since at least 1992, and some of her pieces are

Overview

Shih-Hui Chen is an American composer born and raised in Taiwan, and has served as an assistant professor of composition at the Shepherd School of Music of Rice University in Houston, TX. Albany's Shih-Hui Chen: 66 Times is the first recording of Chen's music, though she has been active in the United States since at least 1992, and some of her pieces are performed quite a bit already, particularly "Plum Blossoms," not represented here, and "Twice Removed." Shih-Hui Chen is smart in that she makes her pieces flexible enough in instrumentation so they can be applied to different ensembles and performers; "Twice Removed," performed on solo clarinet here by Min-Ho Yeh, also exists in a version for solo saxophone. Chen's "Four Little Pieces of Wood" (again, not represented here) is scored for solo piano, or solo guitar. Chen is so often performed that one wonders why her music hasn't been released on recordings before, but as the way things go in the "stretch-a-dollar-till-it-hollers" realm of classical recording, perhaps we have Chen's music now because it's "her turn." It is worth the wait. While it is difficult to associate the five works on Shih-Hui Chen: 66 Times with a specific style for comparison's sake, she, like any other twenty first century composer, has not missed the example of Edgard Varèse. The notes makes some points about how Chen reconciles her Chinese background with Western styles and instrumentation, but one gathers from listening to Shih-Hui Chen: 66 Times that there is practically no referencing of traditional Chinese themes or motives. If there is anything specifically non-Western about it, it's Chen's use of negative space and skill at maintaining protracted passages of tension. While her music is not outwardly "pretty," Chen doesn't go in for a lot of harsh sounds, either, and Shih-Hui Chen: 66 Times has the virtue of being an approachable, thought-provoking, and subtly pleasing program. "Shui" and "Twice Removed" were both recorded at Rice and feature musicians who are both close to the composer and her music. The awesome pipa player Wu Man is heard, along with soprano Elizabeth Weigle, who sounds terrific here, and members of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project in performances that are sympathetic to Chen's requirements and very well realized. The recording is well above the average one usually associates with Albany, as is the package, prompting an all-around recommendation for Shih-Hui Chen: 66 Times; it does make you want to hear more of Shih-Hui Chen.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/18/2006
Label:
Albany Records
UPC:
0034061085829
catalogNumber:
858

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. 66 Times: The Voice of Pines & Cedars, for soprano & orchestra
  2. Fu 1, for pipa
  3. Twice Removed, for clarinet
  4. Fu 2, for pipa & orchestra
  5. Shui

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rose   Primary Artist

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