WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Ma Sicong: Music For Violin & Piano Vol 2 / Hsiao-mei Ku, Ning Lu

Sicong / Ku / Lu
Release Date: 03/30/2010 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8570605   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sicong Mama sicong
Performer:  Hsiao-mei KuNing Lu
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



MA Spring Dance . Rondo No. 2. Melody. Dance of Autumn Harvest . Violin Sonata No. 3. Gaoshan Suite . Rondo No. 3. Ballade. Rondo No. 4 Hsiao-mei Ku (vn); Ning Lu (pn) NAXOS 8.570605 (64:56)


Unlike Naxos’s first volume of works for violin and piano by Ma Sicong (Naxos 8.570600, Fanfare 31:4) the second Read more includes pieces with abstract titles (who can forget the Chinese officials asking the violinist in The Red Violin what titles like Sonata No. 1 mean?). And Ma wrote some of these works after he had escaped from the grip of the Cultural Revolution to settle in the United States—according to the violinist’s own booklet notes, late in the 1960s.


The Spring Dance , from 1953, bustles with Kreisler’s energy, whatever its ethnic background, and the Second Rondo, from 1950, shares some of its intoxicating spirits. Ku plays these two short pieces with sharp technical command, and brings the Rondo to a whirlwind conclusion. Ma’s Melody , from 1952, provides an opportunity for the violinist to display another side of her expressive personality, and if it sounds more diffuse than warmly insinuating, that may be in part due to a cooler temperature. In fact, Ku’s rich and commanding tone on the G string could meet any expressive challenge. The Dance of the Autumn Harvest , the earliest piece on the program (from 1944), begins with a burst of autumn sunshine, but settles into more melancholy reflections before regaining its earlier momentum in a splashy reminiscence of folk-fiddling double-stops. As in the pieces that precede it on the program, Ku seems more decisive in the faster sections than in the slower ones.


Two more extended works—the two-movement Third Sonata, from 1984, and the Gaoshan Suite , from 1973—constitute the program’s center of gravity as well as its geographical center. The sonata’s opening Moderato provides a sort of relaxed, sensitive meditation, the harmonies of which extend further from the tonal centers to which the earlier works firmly adhered. The second movement brings an infectious, Kreislerian dance-like drive familiar from Ma’s earlier works, but it, too wanders into hazier territory. Again, Ku seems to have a deeper affinity for dance than for song, for the work’s rhythmic rather than its lyrical elements.


Unlike the sonata, the six-movement suite, from 1973, makes in its movements’ titles specific programmatic and instrumental references: “Sacrifice” (a quietly thoughtful movement), “Drinking” (a rhythmic movement employing double-stops somewhat in the manner of Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances as transcribed by Zoltán Székely), “Reed” (similar to “Pe Loc,” in haunting harmonics, in the same work), “Battle Dance” (making a more forceful statement, also in double-stops), “Calling Back Spirits” (the most plaintive movement), and “Dance of Good Year” (a vibrant evocation of the folk dance). The third and fourth rondos (both from 1983)—the first, teasing and playful in its principal thematic material, and the second, more straightforward—sandwich between them the earlier Ballade, from 1952, which provides an interlude more abstract in its expression than the other works that come from its period—yet equally heartfelt, perhaps especially in Ku’s sympathetic, touching performance.


Ku mentions in her notes that she had attempted to produce on occasion an “erhu-style sound,” and at lyrical moments such as those in the sonata’s second movement, the incorporation of folk-like elements enhances the effect; but Ning Lu’s idiomatic and sensitive piano accompaniments also achieve a sense of exoticism without drawing upon special timbres or techniques. And that exoticism emerges in the sonata and rondos as well as in the pieces with descriptive titles. As in the case of the first volume, this one can be recommended generally—but especially to those who wish to explore Chinese violin music more thoroughly—and especially for those pieces written in a more abstract style.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Spring Dance by Sicong Ma
Performer:  Hsiao-mei Ku (Violin), Ning Lu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953 
2.
Rondo no 2 by Sicong Ma
Performer:  Hsiao-mei Ku (Violin), Ning Lu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950 
3.
Melody by Sicong Ma
Performer:  Hsiao-mei Ku (Violin), Ning Lu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952 
4.
Autumn Harvest Dance by Sicong Ma
Performer:  Hsiao-mei Ku (Violin), Ning Lu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944 
5.
Sonata for Violin and Piano no 3 by Sicong Ma
Performer:  Hsiao-mei Ku (Violin), Ning Lu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984 
6.
Gaoshan Suite by Sicong Ma
Performer:  Hsiao-mei Ku (Violin), Ning Lu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1973 
7.
Rondo no 3 by Sicong Ma
Performer:  Hsiao-mei Ku (Violin), Ning Lu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983 
8.
Ballade by Sicong Ma
Performer:  Hsiao-mei Ku (Violin), Ning Lu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952 
9.
Rondo no 4 by Sicong Ma
Performer:  Hsiao-mei Ku (Violin), Ning Lu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In