RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

CD Feature/ Gao Ping: "Chamber Music"

img  Tobias

The success of Gao Ping is a remarkable reminder that a composer does not need to be visionary to be succesful in new music circles in the 21st Century and that he can embrace experimentation without being sanctioned by the audience. His path has been well-balanced, his pieces even-tempered, yet never without tension. And now his work is finally beiong released on CD, it is becoming increasingly clear that he is possibly the archetype of the contemporary composer..

For “contemporary” means allowing the unstoppable flow of time to trickle in, while not severing natural ties to what has preceeded the present moment. “Chamber Music” is a collection of various pieces in different forms and formats, which allows Ping to shine both as a writer and performer – and it’s a showcase for the most manifold stylistic manifestations. In “Shuo Shu Ren”, he  harks back to the tradition of story-telling, shakes hand with traditional Chinese music, allows chords to stand firm and melodies to dance and flirts with suspensful frictions and monody. The passages for solo instruments are an offer for reflection and backpedalling, while, on other occasions, the “Ensemble Pyramide” seems to emulate a full-bodies orchestral sound with chamber-musical means. Gao is the piano man on “Distant Voices”, a tryptich of short to medium-length combinations of romantic day-dreaming, delicate dissonances and themes from the provinces of Inner Mongolia. Sichuan and Shanbei. And he teams up with Anita Jehli for his Cello and Piano Sonata, a composition, which is drenched in the twilight of the evening and features tender musical rapprochements between the players. What is so “contemporary” about these tracks is the fact that they are neither retro nor part of an avantgarde, which denies the listener his right to enjoy himself. Ping takes what he likes from tradition, mixes it with his own creativity and then puts everything in a new perspective. The result is clarified, because it eschews the tendency for spectacular poses. But it is still music which wants to be heard with the ears of a child, full of wonder and amazement.

For two “Soviet Love Songs”, Gao Ping pays a bizarre hommage to Shostakovich, by vocalising his way through scenes of dreamy piano and Russian folklore. Close to pop, this is an unuusual, but appropriate finale to an album, which shows why this man is currently so very much in demand and a figurehead of contemporary composition: It is this air of humamity, which makes the music vulnerable and deep.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Gao Ping
Homepage: Naxos Records

Related articles

Audio China
A recognisably restless pulse: Adam ...
tokafi: Off to China!
You may have noticed that ...
Vital Weekly 583
Frans de Waard presents the ...
CD Feature/ Limpe Fuchs: "pianobody"
Her methods are rooted in ...
CD Feature/ Lily Green EP
This album needs the disruptions, ...
CD Feature/ Edoardo Ricci & Thollem Mcdonas: " SONOCONTENTODISTAREQUA"
Their language is highly educated, ...
CD Feature/ 230 Divisadero: "A Vision of Lost Unity"
An apocalyptic electro-acoustic mantra-like black ...
15 Questions to Gao Ping
Gao Ping has many faces. ...
CD Feature/ William Basinski: "Variations for Piano & Tape"
A single, perpetually spinning, never-ending ...
CD Feature/ Johannes Schmoelling: "Instant City"
His music has gained in ...
CD Feature/ Luciano Berio: "Sequenzas I-XIV"
This could be an investment ...
CD Feature/ Maxence Cyrin: "Modern Rhapsodies"
Transforms some of the most ...
CD Feature/ Paul Moravec: "The Time Gallery"
A concept work which doesn't ...
CD Feature/ Ariel Ramirez: "Missa Criolla"
Open to the sound, open ...

Partner sites