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Lei Liang: Bamboo Lights / The Cicada Chamber Ensemble, SoundSCAPE, The JACK Quartet, et al.

Album Summary

>Liang, Lei : Listening for Blossoms, for flute, harp, violin, viola, double bass & piano
>Liang, Lei : Lakescape, for soprano, piano & percussion
>Liang, Lei : Serashi Fragments
>Liang, Lei : Lakescape no 2, for percussion trio
>Liang, Lei : Gobi Gloria, for string quartet
>Liang, Lei : Lake, for 2 flutes
>Liang, Lei : Bamboo Lights, for chamber orchestra
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Chinese-born American composer Lei Liang (b.1972) is the winner of the 2011 Rome Prize, and a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. His commissions include the New York Philharmonic, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Taipei Chinese Orchestra, the Thailand Philharmonic, the Heidelberger Philharmonisches Orchester, and the Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic. Lei Liang's new album, Bamboo Lights, features delicately nuanced miniature works, whose quiet intensity and beauty call to mind fine Chinese landscape paintings and Japanese haiku. Just as Matsuo Basho's haiku lead us to search for a symbolic meaning arising from the juxtaposed images that strike the heart and mind, Liang transports the listener to experience inner solitude - what he calls "the silence of the mind" - through interweaving moments of silence within a fascinating array of sound.

American Record Guide, November/December 2014
Listening for Blossoms (2011) is an expressionist Chinese fantasy for a mixed chamber sextet of plucked strings, harp, and piano, the latter imitating a 3-D Chinese zither, with modernist-style Chinese strings and quasibamboo flute as soloists. The serene Lakescape (2012), for soprano (in a vocalise), plucked piano, and quiet percussion, seeks to express "the ephemeral experience of gliding on water on a moonlit lake in a Buddhist monastery". Serashi Fragments (2005), for string quartet, is dedicated to the Mongolian fiddle player of the same name. Written for the Arditti Quartet, the piece is "grittier" than the preceding works, apparently referring to the Mongolian's "musical universe". Lakescape 2 (2013), a very quiet duet for marimba and vibraphone, with a few dabs of color from bowed cymbal and rolled crotale, complements the first work in the series. Gobi Gloria (2006) also complements the Serashi Fragments. Also for string quartet, this piece uses actual Mongolian folk song and dance in its three movements and is more immediately accessible than its predecessor. Lake (1999+ 2013), a duet for flute and alto saxophone, is, like the other "Lake" pieces extremely quiet and gentle, this one securely and simply modal, with some pitch bendings for atmosphere. Finally, the title work, Bamboo Lights (2013), a four-movement suite for chamber orchestra, is dedicated to his parents who perished in World War II. This release will be of interest to listeners drawn to 21st Century doings in the world of Asian academic post-modernism.



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Works Details

>Liang, Lei : Listening for Blossoms, for flute, harp, violin, viola, double bass & piano
  • Conductor: Stephen Drury
  • Ensemble: The Cicada Chamber Ensemble
  • Running Time: 10 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 2011

>Liang, Lei : Lakescape, for soprano, piano & percussion
  • Performers: Tony Arnold; Aiyun Huang (Percussion); Thomas Rosenkranz (Piano)
  • Conductor: Stephen Drury
  • Ensemble: Musicians from SoundSCAPE
  • Running Time: 5 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 2012

>Liang, Lei : Serashi Fragments
  • Conductor: Stephen Drury
  • Ensemble: The JACK Quartet
  • Running Time: 7 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2005

>Liang, Lei : Lakescape no 2, for percussion trio
  • Conductor: Stephen Drury
  • Ensemble: Rootstock Percussion
  • Running Time: 6 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 2013

>Liang, Lei : Gobi Gloria, for string quartet
  • Conductor: Stephen Drury
  • Ensemble: The Awea Duo
  • Running Time: 11 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2007

>Liang, Lei : Lake, for 2 flutes
  • Conductor: Stephen Drury
  • Ensemble: The Awea Duo
  • Running Time: 5 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1999

>Liang, Lei : Bamboo Lights, for chamber orchestra
  • Conductor: Stephen Drury
  • Running Time: 11 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2013