Catalog: CDR 193
Format: COMPACT DISC
Chen, Yihan; Gerstein, Emma; Civitas Ensemble; Yeh, Cynthia
Chicago's Civitas Ensemble presents a spectrum of new instrumental works by living Chinese composers, each with a unique perspective on Western and Far Eastern musical sensibilities. Spearheaded by Shanghai-born violinist Yuan-Qing Yu, a Civitas founding member and assistant concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Jin Yin (“Golden Tone”) comprises world-premiere recordings of works by Yao Chen, Vivian Fung, and Lu Pei, plus specially made new arrangements of pieces from Zhou Long and Chen Yi. First recordings include Yao Chen’s mystical, rhapsodic Emanations of Tara, named for a revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism and written expressly for the Civitas Ensemble; Vivian Fung’s Birdsong, a virtuosic piece for violin and piano that opens and closes with evocations of bird calls; and Lu Pei’s alternatively vigorous and lyrical Scenes Through Window, imbued with both American minimalist rhythms and South China folk traditions. Leading off the program, Zhou Long’s engaging Five Elements evokes metal, wood, water, fire, and earth, while Chen Yi’s serene, ethereal Night Thoughts was inspired by a Tang Dynasty poem. Both receive their first recordings in the composers’ own arrangements made specifically for the Civitas Ensemble. The Civitas Ensemble named their album for the Chinese phrase meaning “Golden Tone” because they treasure these works for their clarity of musical expression.