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Classical - Released November 14, 2008 | MSR Classics

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Classical - Released April 28, 2011 | MSR Classics

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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Classical - Released August 7, 2015 | Naxos

Hi-Res Booklet