SYLVIA SASS ANNIVERSARY EDITION
CHINESE MUSIC FOR HARP
ARUTIUNIAN: Complete piano works
The Chinese harp ("Guzheng"") has been around for well over two thousand years. Is is rather like a zither, with many strings which are plucked. You won't hear the rich, warm sounds of the standard harp from this ancient instrument. It has an astringent, steely sound but can produce intriguing sounds. On this disk we have a master of the instrument, Xiao Ying, playing thirteen rather brief selections, mostly traditional. The colorful titles include Spring On Snowy Mountains, Thoughts, Moon Over Western River, Harvest Drumming ,Lotus, and Shifting Curtains. I rather imagine that most of the titles and music are interchangeable. In a few, other Chinese ancient instruments are heard (fiddles, flute, and sheng, a mouth-blown bamboo "organ."). Here is your opportunity to hear a truly ancient instrument in appropriate repertory. The recordings were made on an unspecified date in Northhamptonshire, Great Britain. Excellenent sound, and CD notes include details of eachwork.
Armenian composer Alexander Arutiunian (1920 - 2012), was a contemporary of Aram Khachaturian. Although he was respected, his music never gained wide attention except for his brilliant trumpet concerto composed in1950 for Timofei Dokshitser. Aruntinan wrote much music including operas and concertos for other instruments, but today most of it is forgotten. This CD contains all of his works for solo piano beginning with Armenian Dance composed in 1924 when he was only 17. The major work is his Polyphonic Sonata dating from 1946. Most of these pieces are quite brief, many based on Armenian folk tunes. This is pleasant and rather innocuous, and young Armenian pianist Hayk Melikyan who does what can be done with this music. Excellent audio. Melikuam already has to his credit a disk of complete piano music of another Armenian composer Arno Babadjaniar. Collectors are fortunate to have unusual repertory so well presented.
R.E.B. (March 2017)