- Let there be Not Darkness but Light, for violin, cello & clarinet
- 21, for cello (after J.S. Bach)
- Svitac, for clarinet & piano
- Mountains...seas...buildings...trees..., for cello & marimba
- Lego City, for clarinet, violin, cello & piano
- Deep Red, for marimba & orchestra
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The Intimacy of Creativity is a program that brings composers to Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra to present and revise new works. This double album celebrates the fifth anniversary of that program and also the 25th anniversary of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. It sounds like a mishmash, and not all of the works included are part of the Intimacy of Creativity project, but actually this album makes a fine place to start exploring what makes Asia's top symphony orchestra distinctive. Although Arvo Pärt contributed a brief booklet note for the "Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten," he was apparently not present as one of the Intimacy of Creativity Group; whether it was his presence or something else, the performance of the "Cantus" led here by conductor and American-based Chinese composer Bright Sheng is extraordinary: luminous, mystical, broad, and deep. The five Intimacy of Creativity works are not of Chinese origin, but two pieces, including one by Western composer Matthew Tommasini, refer to the awesome skyscraper geography of Hong Kong (the other is "Lego City," by American-based Chinese composer Ming-Hsiu Yen). All are attractive pieces, and in several cases you can imagine the refining process that went on as part of the project. The first album is given over to a competent reading of the string-orchestra version of Schoenberg's "Verklärte Nacht" and Sheng's own "Deep Red," an innovative marimba treatment in which the orchestra plays off the instrument's basic sound in different ways. A recommended collection from an ensemble that will be immensely important in concert music going forward.