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Tan Dun: Ghost Opera

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All Music Guide - Brian Olewnick
For Tan Dun's Ghost Opera, the Kronos Quartet had their instrumental abilities stretched to include various percussion, wind instruments, and vocals and were joined by pipa virtuoso Wu Man. The first sound one hears is a hand being drawn through a bowl of water. Soon, strains of Bach appear, accompanied by the pipa, an ancient Chinese lute, and the voiced prayer of a monk. Bach figures into much of the work, in fact, as if being played by a traveling string quartet making their way through back-country China. The piece slides comfortably between these areas, the strings sometimes taking on an Asian character that compliments the Baroque allusions in an oddly effective ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Brian Olewnick
For Tan Dun's Ghost Opera, the Kronos Quartet had their instrumental abilities stretched to include various percussion, wind instruments, and vocals and were joined by pipa virtuoso Wu Man. The first sound one hears is a hand being drawn through a bowl of water. Soon, strains of Bach appear, accompanied by the pipa, an ancient Chinese lute, and the voiced prayer of a monk. Bach figures into much of the work, in fact, as if being played by a traveling string quartet making their way through back-country China. The piece slides comfortably between these areas, the strings sometimes taking on an Asian character that compliments the Baroque allusions in an oddly effective manner. The music is generally soft in nature with, aside from the Bach, frequent references to Chinese folk songs of a pastoral quality. It's almost lulling at times, though there's enough subtlety of detail to keep the attentive listener engaged. Those who only cottoned to Tan Dun after his success several years after this recording, with the soundtrack to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, should enjoy this carefully considered, meditative piece.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/18/1997
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597944525
  • Catalog Number: 79445

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Movement 1 (8:55)
  2. 2 Movement 2 (6:47)
  3. 3 Movement 3 (3:13)
  4. 4 Movement 4 (10:09)
  5. 5 Movement 5 (6:40)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Kronos Quartet Primary Artist, Ensemble
Hank Dutt Cymbals, Gong, Viola, Vocals, Water Bowl
Donald Hamilton Soprano Trombone
David Harrington Violin, Cymbals, Gong, Lute, Vocals, Water Bowl
Wu Man Gong, Vocals, Soprano (Vocal), Pipa, Tam-tam, Tibetan Bells
John Sherba Violin, Cymbals, Gong, Vocals, Whistle (Instrument), Water Bowl
Joan Heanrenaud Cello, Gong, Vocals, Water Bowl
Technical Credits
Hank Dutt Contributor
David Harrington Contributor, Mastering
Robert Hurwitz Executive Producer
Wu Man Contributor, Calligraphy
John Sherba Contributor
Judith Sherman Producer, Mastering
Craig Silvey Engineer
Frank Olinsky Artwork
Tan Dun Composer, Contributor, Liner Notes, Text
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    kronos does it again

    written by tan dun and includes wu man playing the pipa, bells, and vocals. a huge glass bowl filled with water is set on a pillar, and dave draws his bow across a gong in the water. the overall sound is one of excitement or anticipating the unexexpected, as it were; like the feeling of anticipation on halloween eve, for instance. tan dun was once a fiddle player in beijing, and is now a u.s. composer. kronos gives this music a great texture that they have exhibited in many other fine recordings of lesser known composers.

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