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Susan Chan|East West Encounter II - Piano Music by Bach, Chopin, Lam, Louie & Satoh

East West Encounter II - Piano Music by Bach, Chopin, Lam, Louie & Satoh

Susan Chan

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When MSR Classics' East West Encounter II was issued, pianist Susan Chan was a professor of piano at Portland State University in Oregon, though she maintains a steady stream of appearances as a concert pianist; her Weill Hall recital in September 2007 was very kindly reviewed, as she was tagged as "a thoughtful musician and a sensitive player." Those very qualities are strongly apparent in this MSR disc, intended as a follow-up to Chan's first MSR Classics disc, East West Encounter II. What both discs have in common is that each program is half made up of Asian classics and the other half standard Western concert fare. In the Asian portion of this disc, she performs Hong Kong-based Chinese composer Doming Lam's suite Moonlight Over Spring River, part of the massive piano literature created by Chinese composers based on traditional songs and written mostly between the 1950s and '70s; this piece was composed in 1971 and heretofore has been available in the West on an impossible-to-find Thorofon recording by pianist Tsai Chai-Hsio. It has some very striking imitations of traditional instruments such as the chin and the pipa and the movement "The Returning Waves" is, in part, a very effective tone cluster piece reminiscent of things like Henry Cowell's The Snows of Fuji-Yama. Somei Satoh's thundering Incarnation II has been recorded before, perhaps most notably by Margaret Leng Tan; this rendition is well-balanced, straightforward, and Chan pays close attention to the dynamics of the piece, though Leng Tan's version is longer by some seven minutes and more gradual in its development. Canadian composer Alexina Louie's Scenes from a Jade Terrace is strongly atmospheric, and its tarter harmonic profile adds a bit of welcome bite to the program. The other half consists of a selection from Chopin's Op. 28 Preludes and various piano transcriptions of Bach; the famous Busoni rendering of the Chaconne in D minor, Egon Petri's take on Sheep May Safely Graze, Alexander Siloti's gloss on the brief Prelude in B minor, BWV 855a, and Wilhelm Kempff's arrangement of Jesu, Joy of a Man's Desiring. It's all good, with the Petri transcription being a particularly strong performance, though the Chopin items seem a little out of place and -- one hates to say this -- in performing them, Chan plays a little more like a teacher than a concert artist; Chopin's Preludes are played "right," but are a little lacking in that spark of individuality. The Asian pieces on the program are the real hook anyway and perhaps the next time around Susan Chan can take us across the Pacific for a vacation in the Orient for a whole disc's course and leave the old longhairs in Europe; this side of the "encounter" appears to be her strongest suit.
© TiVo

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East West Encounter II - Piano Music by Bach, Chopin, Lam, Louie & Satoh

Susan Chan

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1
Moonlight Over Spring River: The Chiming Bells Over River Tower
00:02:33

Susan Chan, MainArtist - Doming Lam, Composer - Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong Ltd., MusicPublisher

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

2
Moonlight Over Spring River: Moon Over East Mountain
00:01:00

Susan Chan, MainArtist - Doming Lam, Composer - Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong Ltd., MusicPublisher

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

3
Moonlight Over Spring River: Flowery Shadows
00:01:40

Susan Chan, MainArtist - Doming Lam, Composer - Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong Ltd., MusicPublisher

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

4
Moonlight Over Spring River: The Distant Chirps of Dawn
00:01:13

Susan Chan, MainArtist - Doming Lam, Composer - Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong Ltd., MusicPublisher

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

5
Moonlight Over Spring River: The Returning Waves
00:00:47

Susan Chan, MainArtist - Doming Lam, Composer - Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong Ltd., MusicPublisher

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

6
Moonlight Over Spring River: Homeward Boat
00:02:56

Susan Chan, MainArtist - Doming Lam, Composer - Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong Ltd., MusicPublisher

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

7
Incarnation II: Incarnation II
00:11:55

Somei Satoh, Composer - Susan Chan, MainArtist

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

8
Scenes from a Jade Terrace: Memories in an Ancient Garden
00:05:56

Alexina Louie, Composer - Susan Chan, MainArtist - Alfred Music, MusicPublisher

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

9
Prelude in B minor, BWV 855a: Prelude No.6 in B minor (trans. Alexander Siloti)
00:02:47

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Susan Chan, MainArtist

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

10
Cantata No.208, BWV 208: Sheep May Safely Graze (trans. Egon Petri)
00:04:45

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Susan Chan, MainArtist

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

11
Cantata No.147, BWV 147: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (trans. Wilhelm Kempff)
00:03:19

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Susan Chan, MainArtist

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

12
Twenty-Four Preludes, Op.28: Prelude No.1 in C major - Agitato
00:00:37

Frederic Chopin, Composer - Susan Chan, MainArtist

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

13
Twenty-Four Preludes, Op.28: Prelude No.6 in B minor - Lento assai
00:01:53

Frederic Chopin, Composer - Susan Chan, MainArtist

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

14
Twenty-Four Preludes, Op.28: Prelude No.13 in F-sharp major - Lento
00:02:55

Frederic Chopin, Composer - Susan Chan, MainArtist

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

15
Twenty-Four Preludes, Op.28: Prelude No.21 in B-flat major
00:01:37

Frederic Chopin, Composer - Susan Chan, MainArtist

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

16
Twenty-Four Preludes, Op.28: Prelude No.15 in D-flat major - Sostenuto
00:04:54

Frederic Chopin, Composer - Susan Chan, MainArtist

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

17
Twenty-Four Preludes, Op.28: Prelude No.17 in A-flat major - Allegretto
00:03:06

Frederic Chopin, Composer - Susan Chan, MainArtist

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

18
Violin Partita in D minor, BWV 1004: Chaconne in D minor (trans. Ferruccio Busoni)
00:13:10

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Susan Chan, MainArtist

(C) 2008 Susan Chan (P) 2008 Susan Chan

Album Description

When MSR Classics' East West Encounter II was issued, pianist Susan Chan was a professor of piano at Portland State University in Oregon, though she maintains a steady stream of appearances as a concert pianist; her Weill Hall recital in September 2007 was very kindly reviewed, as she was tagged as "a thoughtful musician and a sensitive player." Those very qualities are strongly apparent in this MSR disc, intended as a follow-up to Chan's first MSR Classics disc, East West Encounter II. What both discs have in common is that each program is half made up of Asian classics and the other half standard Western concert fare. In the Asian portion of this disc, she performs Hong Kong-based Chinese composer Doming Lam's suite Moonlight Over Spring River, part of the massive piano literature created by Chinese composers based on traditional songs and written mostly between the 1950s and '70s; this piece was composed in 1971 and heretofore has been available in the West on an impossible-to-find Thorofon recording by pianist Tsai Chai-Hsio. It has some very striking imitations of traditional instruments such as the chin and the pipa and the movement "The Returning Waves" is, in part, a very effective tone cluster piece reminiscent of things like Henry Cowell's The Snows of Fuji-Yama. Somei Satoh's thundering Incarnation II has been recorded before, perhaps most notably by Margaret Leng Tan; this rendition is well-balanced, straightforward, and Chan pays close attention to the dynamics of the piece, though Leng Tan's version is longer by some seven minutes and more gradual in its development. Canadian composer Alexina Louie's Scenes from a Jade Terrace is strongly atmospheric, and its tarter harmonic profile adds a bit of welcome bite to the program. The other half consists of a selection from Chopin's Op. 28 Preludes and various piano transcriptions of Bach; the famous Busoni rendering of the Chaconne in D minor, Egon Petri's take on Sheep May Safely Graze, Alexander Siloti's gloss on the brief Prelude in B minor, BWV 855a, and Wilhelm Kempff's arrangement of Jesu, Joy of a Man's Desiring. It's all good, with the Petri transcription being a particularly strong performance, though the Chopin items seem a little out of place and -- one hates to say this -- in performing them, Chan plays a little more like a teacher than a concert artist; Chopin's Preludes are played "right," but are a little lacking in that spark of individuality. The Asian pieces on the program are the real hook anyway and perhaps the next time around Susan Chan can take us across the Pacific for a vacation in the Orient for a whole disc's course and leave the old longhairs in Europe; this side of the "encounter" appears to be her strongest suit.
© TiVo

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