One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Chieh SHIH (b.1950)
Die Überquerung des Flusses (Crossing the River) (1995) [17:14]
Ein Takt (A Measure), for nine instruments (2006) [9:35]
Ein Takt (A Measure), for piano and four strings (2006) [9:35]
Wanderschaft (Travels) - Symphonic Song, for soprano and chamber orchestra (2010) [14:10]
*Die Trennung (The Separation) (1999-2000) [19:46]
Anu Komsi (soprano); Anika Vavić (piano)
Ensemble 'Die Reihe'/Georg Fritzsch
*National Symphony Orchestra Taiwan/Chien Wen-Pin
rec. ORF RadioKulturhaus, Vienna, 30 November 2010 (live); *National Concert Hall, Taipei, Taiwan (no date; live).
CAPRICCIO C5111 [65:31]

This is one of a pair of '21st Century Portraits' released by Capriccio in 2012, the impressive other being devoted to German composer Christian Jost (C5118). At the time of writing a third volume has just come out, given over not to a single composer but - somewhat incongruously and ironically - to the 'Ensemble xx. Jahrhundert'.
 
Vienna-based Taiwanese composer Chieh Shih, a naturalised Austrian styled simply 'Shih', drops the listener right in at the deep end with his Die Überquerung des Flusses, which opens with a cacophony of metallic percussion, not unlike a stack of dustbins being thrown off a building. An hour later, in the final Die Trennung - along with Die Überquerung des Flusses, part of a larger triptych, incidentally - there are several mind-blowingly chromatic crescendos. As the booklet notes promise, Shih does indeed blend occidental and oriental elements, but in a decidedly modernist way, with an emphasis on textures, atmospherics and psychology rather than form, melody or harmony. Only the appearance of the erhu and pipa in Ein Takt for nine instruments truly point to Chinese influences.
 
In fact it is the Austrian side of Shih that is uppermost in these works, meaning that some listeners may find some of the language and violence disturbing! By way of mitigation, the three middle tracks, Wanderschaft and both works bearing the title 'Ein Takt', are much less clangorous than the outer pair, though they too are highly animated, virtuosic and unequivocally modernist in idiom. An appreciation of the likes of Carter, Birtwistle or early Penderecki is virtually a prerequisite for understanding Shih's music, whereas an interest in traditional Chinese music will take the prospective listener almost nowhere.
 
There is some superbly responsive, empathetic musicianship on display on this recording, both from the excellent ensemble 'Die Reihe' and the National Symphony Orchestra Taiwan under Chien Wen-Pin. Soprano Anu Komsi is Finnish and sings German with a foreign lilt, but in Wanderschaft her voice quality, control and power are all terrific, making it a simple matter to overlook any such ‘transgression’. Serbian pianist Anika Vavić also merits a name-check for her intensive trill-fest in Ein Takt
Recordings at both venues have been very well done, with spacious, moist, at times almost 'super-audio' reproduction. All are live captures, and the odd audience cough can be heard, inevitably at the more inopportune moments, but their distraction value is limited.
 
The booklet notes are relatively brief but still useful, if slightly pretentious in their Teutonic wordiness. Translations into English have been done by a German-speaker, leaving them with a slight accent.  

Byzantion
Contact at artmusicreviews.co.uk