Chinese classical music is often frequently overlooked, particularly by western audiences. Which to some extent isn’t hugely surprising. For example, many people in the USA would know of Bach, Beethoven or Mozart, and would not know what the instruments the Pipa and Qin are. That changes here with this release. Cheng Yu is a UK-based Chinese musician who has made an impact with her own compositions of Chinese classical music. This is a famous release of hers, from 2007. Let’s hear it, and hope that the music within is good enough for us to enjoy.
Flowing Water begins with some lone Pipa playing that is gorgeous, beautiful and melodic. This piece is deeply rooted in Chinese history. It is so beautiful that one will never forget it upon hearing this piece. A pretty and moving piece, Cheng Yu does a brilliant job on the instrumentation here. There is something special about eastern Classical music, and it is a very moving listen. A true joy to hear, this sounds very impressive. It has some decent plucking and string bends throughout, which are super cool. Nonetheless, this is brilliant listening for audiences who want something different. The playing gets quicker and more interesting near the middle of this piece, being a tremendous effort. With a great deal of plucking and speed, this sounds very adventurous here. An excellent and awesome piece of music, this sounds really cool and amazing. There are some brilliant plucked harmonies in the second half and some playing that is intensely emotional, yet great. A strange sounding tune, yet a gorgeous one. This is perfect for meditating or relaxing. The playing of this tune throughout is amazing and gorgeous. Towards the end, things get fairly quiet on this tune, but the brilliant playing still goes on. A wonderful listen, from beginning to end. The outro is slow and melodic. Beautiful.
White Snow In Sunny Spring is a much shorter piece at just under four minutes long. From the start, it is beautiful, joyous and interesting to hear. There is so much soul in these recordings that one wants to be transported to ancient China whilst listening to this. Nonetheless, this is very, very good and sounds fine and mindblowing. Cheng Yu shows the world that she is a masterful instrumentalist, on both the Pipa and Qin. The second half has a clever and interesting way of playing here, as it slows down and stops momentarily. The plucking/picking here is a joy to listen to, and the whole thing sounds pretty cool. A great and unforgettable listening experience, the outro is insanely fast and finishes quickly. Great work.
Wild Geese Descending On The Sandy Beach begins with a wide array of instrumentation. This combination of plucked string instrumentation and wind instrument is absolutely gorgeous, interesting and beautiful. This is a very subtle and suspenseful tune to hear, and it delivers where it does. The string plucking is something so beautiful that it’ll take your mind back to the early glory days of the Qing Dynasty, or even earlier than that in the history of the world. A fresh, unique and pretty piece, Chinese instrumental music doesn’t get much better than this. A really cool and great listening experience, the music of China needs to be heard more frequently than what is typically expected by westerners. Nonetheless, this is very special music, and it works well. The string bending and plucking here are extraordinary, and the work on the overall tune is emotional. Towards the end, one can sense the emotional climax which is really cool. A really great listening experience, this eventually begins to wrap up nicely with some gorgeous sounds and a decent finish. Well worth your time.
Dragon Boat is a shorter piece with some frenetic strumming of the Pipa here. This is so well done that one can enjoy the strumming and plucking with no issue of time with this piece. Cheng Yu does a really great job on this tune, and she is a true star here. Some insane use of harmonics and suspenseful playing is present in this piece, and this tune is a really majestic one to listen to. Cheng Yu breathes life into ancient Chinese musical classics here. In the middle is some great alternating between harmonies and finger plucking which is really cool. A fine and fantastic listen, Chinese culture fans will enjoy this immensely. A real joy to hear, and definitely worth it if you have time and ears to listen to this. This sounds very amazing, and worth hearing. A great listen, this builds up in a plucked frenzy and intensity towards the end, before concluding. A great listen.
Dance Of The Yi People begins with some subtle and light Pipa plucking, which is suspenseful and different. Soon into it, it gets more frenetic and interesting musically to hear. Another great tune, this piece expresses deep emotion and the minor key melodies throughout express a slight melancholy present. Soon enough, this launches into the main piece at hand, and this music comes alive. An amazing and refreshing listening experience, this is exactly what people who love East Asian culture need to hear. Nonetheless, this works very well. The pace and artistry of the music are both well worth paying attention to. There is a particular melody that this regular plays throughout, which is really cool. This is memorable and clever music, and it does do Cheng Yu justice. Towards the midsection is some insane plucking and playing, which sounds really cool. A great listen, through and through. The playing throughout is amazing, with detail and varying tempo. Great music, this is an album to remember. The second half is more energetic and quicker in pace than the first half, and the playing on this is insanely good. All the same, this works exceptionally well. This isn’t a million miles away from Spanish flamenco guitar work, but still, this album has its own flavour to it. Towards the end is some great Pipa work to wrap things up very nicely. It ends with some crisp and interesting playing. Excellent.
Flute And Drum At Sunset is nearly 12 minutes long. It begins with some gorgeous opening parts that are nicely plucked, which build up very nicely. Soon enough, this tune gets moving on nicely. The wind instrumentation returns again, which is really sweet. Both instruments duke it out for your ears and do so in an incredible way. This music is extraordinarily great, and it simply works nicely. A great and intense listening experience, this is music that would be perfect in a movie like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. All the same, this works really nicely. A really happy and suspenseful listening experience, this music is really awesome, interesting and beautiful musically. Cheng Yu shows the world how it’s done with intense Pipa and Qin playing throughout this album. The must here is a little lengthy, but this is acceptable, given the musical context present here. The playing on the Pipa is beautiful, colourful and mindblowing. This is really awesome and amazing music, although this may be too simple for some. Still, it works and works well. A decent and cool tune to listen to, this sort of music will make you wish you lived in China. A great amount of playing, plucking and decent sound is here to enjoy. The music gets subtle in the second half, taking one by surprise. This is pure bliss set to music. A great and joyous tune, Cheng Yu plays with fiery intensity. A wonderful and interesting listen, although it requires some patience to get through such a long piece. In the second half, the whole lot speeds up and sounds really cool and awesome. The playing present is super intense here. A really fantastic musical experience is on this album. Please do listen to this, especially if you love World Music. There are some gorgeous riff based Pipa parts next before this slowly builds up in tempo and intensity right towards the end. A really cool listening experience. The final section gets very quiet and ends the piece with some awesome harmonics. Excellent work. It ends here, great job.
3 Variations On The Plum Blossom is a shorter piece, with clanging Qin and wind instrumentation to match. This sounds a little strange musically, even for Chinese music. It sounds rather dark and eerie throughout. The playing is slow as well. Possibly the Chinese classical version of Black Sabbath? You decide. This sounds really decent and excellent musically, and the whole thing is pieced together well. Another exceptionally great listening experience, Cheng Yu has nailed these performances perfectly. It works. A great and strange sounding piece of suspenseful music, this is very pretty and listenable for Chinese classical music. It just sounds really clever and musically on it. Towards the middle, we have some more interesting playing on the Pipa, and the Qin and Pipa fight for your audio attention. Again, this sounds really great. A refreshing and different piece of music, this sounds melodic and amazing for what it is. Traditional Chinese instrumentals aren’t going to be to everyone’s tastes, but this music is excellent having said that, without a doubt or question. Towards the end are some slow and reoccurring melodies that are deep and different. In any case, this is great music to hear. This is a little lengthy, but despite that, it’s cool to hear. The outro is slow and deep, eventually concluding with a smooth fade-out. Nice music.
Ambushed On All Sides is the last tune here. It begins with some nice Pipa playing, launching quickly into the music at hand. This is extremely wonderful and beautiful musical listening. It sounds wonderfully extraordinary, and the playing of this tune is again, amazing. The Pipa and Qin are indeed, underrated instruments. In the first half is a repeated note, which has some suspenseful playing on just one note, along with some great alternations between rhythm and melody soon afterwards. Cheng Yu is a great musician here, without a doubt. A perfectly decent listen, this is joyous, pretty and amazing music. Towards the middle is some much more frenetic playing for the listener to enjoy, followed by a repeated and sped-up section of Pipa work. This is totally awesome to listen to. A really exciting, daring and adventurous piece of Chinese melodic instrumentation, this is exactly what one needs to hear, given that they like Chinese music of any sort. The second half has some amazing playing which is super awesome, and it is the equivalent of electric guitar shred for the Pipa. A wonderful listening experience, and something that many can enjoy. The outro sounds really, really weird. Soon enough, some absolutely fast-paced playing goes on, just before this concludes, with some powerful playing. Brilliant.
Although this is Chinese classical music, and it is not for everyone, it is in a format that is perfectly accessible for anyone and everyone to enjoy. This music is well performed and played, and sounds really excellent. The only real flaw here is that the compositions can go on for a bit too long, often nearing the 10 minute mark in length overall. Still, this is great music. Should you listen to this album? Yes, if you love Chinese music, art, culture and languages. A sweet effort.
Interesting Chinese classical music.