The pipa is a traditional Chinese lute, with a tone that falls somewhere between a European lute and an Indian sitar. Wu Man is one of China's most prominent pipa players. Conservatory trained and internationally renowned, she performs both traditional and contemporary pipa compositions.
Disc one is dedicated to solo performance. The delicate, rapid plucking technique and unique pacing creates a distinctive musical environment. Wu's performance of ancient melodies aims to evoke calm, pastoral settings.
Performing with an ensemble of traditional flutes, zithers and drums, Wu's second disc takes on an even more ethereal tone. Washes of harp-like zither and reedy flute melodies provide a lush backdrop for the plucked pipa.
Some of the contemporary pieces such as 1993's 'Run' value the same dissonance favored by other composers, making their distinctive orchestration all the more interesting. However, for the most part, Wu's album is a serene journey through the history of Chinese music.
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