“The new album Dreamscapes…features works by one of today’s most eclectic composers, Canadian-born Vivian Fung. Cage fans will love her solo pieces for prepared piano, while traditionalists should find intriguing the concertos for violin and piano.
The most recent piece on Dreamscapes is the Violin Concerto, completed last year. It includes a cadenza that makes Giuseppe Tartini’s finger-twisting “Devil’s Trill” Sonata seem like child’s play. Afterward, when the orchestra returns (with a vengeance), the music self-destructs in percussive explosions that’ll save you dusting your loudspeakers for a week. Violinist Kristin Lee’s performance is not only technically brilliant but her sensitive phrasing and pacing endow the music with both an emotional and intellectual appeal.
Fung honors Cage enthusiasts with three miniatures for prepared piano from 2006, known collectively as Glimpses. Requiring such instruments of pianistic torture as metal binders, mini plastic hair clips, popsicle sticks and even a metal bar, the resulting gamelan-like clatter grows more compelling with repeated listening.
The closing piano concerto, called Dreamscapes, along with its plucked and strummed piano strings, features some unusual special effects involving Vietnamese bird whistles, wine glasses and brass players whispering nonsense syllables into their mouthpieces. They make it a Cage-like happening the late composer would have loved. Pianist Conor Hanick’s performance here (as in the solo pieces) is laudable for its agility.” Read more…
–Bob McQuiston, NPR Deceptive Cadence Blog, November 13, 2012
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