Resonating Colours 5

Album cover art for upc 896931005425
Label: Navona
Catalog: NV6242
Format: COMPACT DISC

Tang, Betty; Mak, Clarence; Lee, Kar-tai Phoebus; Wu, Mary; Roe, Paul; Ng, Chun-hoi Daniel; Tsoi, Ray; Johnson, Martin; Chen, Yeung-ping; UCSD Bass Ensemble; Ring, Judith; Sheng, Bright; Cheung, Chung-wang; Nüsslein, Wolfgang; Kan, Pak-kin; Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra; Chen, Yu-Fang

Wong Hok-yeung opens the Hong Kong Composers’ Guild’s RESONATING COLOURS 5 with Night Poem, a composition for cello and piano. Rhapsodic and ambling, the piece conjures nightly thoughts, welling up and vanishing with lifelike authenticity. Chan Chin-ting brings two pieces for solo violin: Cross Currents, an exploration of the violin's full tonal range, and Postcards, an assortment of "six miniatures/musical gifts," which can be played as standalone pieces, but also feature a common theme that unites them. Lee Kar-tai's Pyrus Flower in the Rain is a minimalist evocation of temporality. Written for solo piano, its structure and execution reveal a great deliberation and decisiveness behind every single note and effect, quite like a traditional ink-and-washing painting. Stretch of Light, a contrabass quintet by Chen Yeung-ping, starts out with drawn-out notes more reminiscent of fragmented Indian raga music than of Chinese composition. But the surprise is unwarranted: After all, Stretch of Light is supposed to be an examination of the nature of space, and the long, layered lines evoke this quite naturally. Dyeing, a trio for violin, clarinet, and cello by Au Tin-yung was inspired by an anecdote experienced by the ancient Chinese philosopher Mozi, who was mesmerized by the process of coloring fabric. Au Tin-yung aims to explore this fascinating yet utilitarian process in his composition, in which he handles the instruments' different timbres in quite the same manner in which a craftsman would handle differently-textured fabrics. Seasonal changes are at the heart of November Winds by Ng Chun-hoi, a string quartet as ephemeral as the annual variances in weather and nature. This impression is counterbalanced by another work by the composer, Prelude II, a tonal composition for two guitars which employs the instruments in both a melodic and percussive fashion. Finally, Wong Chun-wai's Clouds in Twilight rounds off the album with an atmospheric meditation on a sunset. In its dramatic ebb and tide, culminating in a rich, full orchestration, lends the perfect and indeed, the most fitting, ending to RESONATING COLOURS 5.

Price: $17.99