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Title: Brush-Strokes
Label: mode 210           Country: USA
Format: CD           Status: AVAILABLE           $15.00

Description: Basic info: Lei Liang (b.1972) began his musical studies in China, completing them in the USA. His music aims at a deeper philosophical engagement with musical sound as a tool for reflection and contemplation, while resisting exoticized and formulaic treatment of Asian musical elements. Liang's music is deeply philosophical, yet sensual, evocative, yet abstract, and disciplined, yet spontaneous. He studied composition with Harrison Birtwistle, Chaya Czernowin, Joshua Fineberg, and Mario Davidovsky, and received degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music and Harvard University. He now teaches at UCSD (San Diego). Bruce review of this disc:
"Serashi Fragments" featured the Arditti Quartet and it is only 7 minutes, yet extremely intense for its duration. From sparse moments to fractured shards, this music is demanding to the musicians as well as the listeners. I love the way the strings sound as if they are about to leap out of the speakers as they move from silence to explosiveness. "Some Empty Thoughts..." is for solo harpsichord and even this ancient instrument is transformed into a more Eastern or koto-like sound. Stark at times with sections of intense eruptions. "Memories of Xiaoxiang" is for alto sax & tape and is a scary piece about a woman whose husband is murdered by a local official. The sax mouthpiece wails and tapes of the woman's voice & other violent sounds are used. This piece is often extreme yet most effective. "Trio" is for cello, piano & percussion and it was inspired by a snowstorm. The three instruments are constantly shifting positions and are played in different combinations. I am reminded of the way a kaleidoscope slowly transforms visual ideas into other things. "My Windows" is for solo piano in four movements. It sounds like the piano is being used to paint a picture of the world as it evolves through time from a calm beginning to more restless volcanic activity with dark waves occurring at times. The final piece is the title piece and it is performed by the Callithumpian Consort, a chamber orchestra. This piece is eerie with high notes sliding into one another for the reeds, horns and strings. Each note is carefully placed so that each part of the piece evokes different feelings with some disturbing vocals near the end. This piece is a perfect conclusion to a fascinating disc that covers a great deal of stylistic ground. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
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