Search - Takako Nishizaki, Anonymous, Zhan-hao / Chen, Gang He :: CHEN / HE: Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto (The)

CHEN / HE: Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto (The)
Takako Nishizaki, Anonymous, Zhan-hao / Chen, Gang He
CHEN / HE: Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto (The)
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #1


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Competent? Yes. Extraordinary? No.
glengariffe | Boston, MA | 02/04/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)

"When the "Butterfly Lover Concerto" was first conceived, it was intended to distill the best of Western classical and traditional Chinese folk music into an impeccably paced, beautiful and passionate narrative drama. To bring out its full color and texture, Chinese folk musical instruments were brought into the orchestra. The solo violin is detrimental to the narrative. The concerto divides into "Gong Du" (meaning "Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai studying together"), "Xiang Song" ("saying goodbye"), "Kang Hun" ("Zhu resisting the marriage arranged by her parents"), "Lou Tai Xiang Hui" ("Liang and Zhu meeting again in Zhu's home"), and finaly "Hua Die" ("Lovers transforming into butterflies"). Throughout the concerto the violinist is the voice of the lovers conveying their innocence, longing, passion and helplessness. In neither the Naxos or Marco Polo version could Ms. Nishizaki convey much emotion through her interpretation. Too many details, when emphasized and refined, would have significantly elevated the interpretation, were sadly neglected. Her playing, though technically excellent, sounded stiff and flat. The Bratislava Orchestra in the Marco Polo CD did not provide enough support for her. It sounded thin, perfunctory and all too timid. In contrast, the accompanying Shanghai orchestra in the Naxos CD did a much better job in maintaining the dialogue with the soloist, providing the desperately needed regional color to the interpretation. As for other pieces played by Nishisaki, I feel that she was competent, but far from extraordinary, in conveying the emotions, life and textures of the music. To this date, Ms. Yue Ni Na, the first person ever to play the Butterfly concerto, remains its best interpreter. Technically superb, she has never let her virtuoso overshadow the most elements in the concerto: love, loss and devotion. Most amazingly she made it sound SO easy. Her attention to the details, breathtakingly exquisite and deeply gratifying, conveyed a broad range of emotions: I feel like I can hear the lovers murmur and say goodbye, the wills clashing and butterflies fluttering in the storm. It takes a lot of guts to display such vulnerability and intimacy in her interpretation. In a recording from the late 50s (which I think is available on cassettes), traditional Chinese instruments helped achieve stunning dramatic effects. Here Ms. Yue also recorded the pieces which Ms. Nishizaki played in the Naxos and Marco Polo CDs. She brought much more vitality and intimacy to her music. You don't just hear the music, you see vivid images and hear laughters and shouts of joy. I do not usually write such long reviews. But the "Butterfly Lover Concerto" is very close to my heart and I only want to give my opinion on the subject and hope the world would get to know the work by Ms. Yue Ni Na. Tapes of her music are usually available in Chinese bookstore and/or music stores. I sincerely hope whoever is interested in learning more about modern Chinese music also takes the time to discover Ms. Yue."
glengariffe | 11/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I own two copies of "butterfly lovers" (one is played by vanessa mae, a 20 some year old prodigy, who has her own contemporary rendition). Knowing very well the original chinese folk tone, I must say this piece does lose a little bit switching from the tradition er-hu (the original instrument), to the violin. However, the music piece also had its "gains" when played in the western manner , in an orchestra, using western instruments. I can't think of another example where a "transformed" folk piece still can produce so much energy, power, and beauty. This piece is a bit more than 20 minutes long. Also beware of the crescendos. I've never heard anybody who disliked this piece. I hope more people will discover this treasure. a masterpiece in many ways."
Dream Music
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I dreamed of beautiful music, the most lovely of dream music, suddenly, I realized the dream was not a dream but somehow we lost power and the clock radio was on. At 12:20 AM I had to rise from my bed and listed until it was over so I could find the name of the album. I cannot wait to turn friends on to this moving album."