JACK Quartet; Rootstock Percussion; Cicada Chamber Ensemble; musicians from soundSCAPE; Awea Duo; The Callithumpian Consort, Stephen Drury, conductor
Bridge 9425 CD
Composer Lei Liang knows how to pick performers; or perhaps, wisely, they select his works. Either way, when their paths cross, as they do here on a portrait CD released on Bridge Records, the results are noteworthy. Whether it is Tony Arnold singing Lakescape, JACK Quartet’s elegant recording of Gobi Gloria, or the Callithumpian Consort’s energetic rendition of the title track, every performance is committed and convincing.
To suggest that Liang’s music is primarily a fusion of Asian traditional music and contemporary classical is overly reductive. The composer integrates various influences respectfully and thoughtfully. His incorporation of disparate textures and points of inspiration in no way diminishes Liang’s individuality. Whether it is Buddhist contemplative practices in Lakescape, Guqin (a Chinese zither) in Listening for Blossoms, a Mongolian fiddle player in Serashi Fragments, or, in Bamboo Lights, the memory of relatives who passed away during World War II, each is a starting point from which Liang creates music that is deeply personal.