On & Between: New Music for Pipa & Western Ensembles

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U.S. immigrants live in the dualities of cultures and identities. On & Between is a musical exploration of the dualities and the accompanying anticipation, agony, pride and compromise – poignantly capturing the states of mind of an immigrant on the journey of home-seeking and assimilation. Award winning composer Zhen Chen explores new possibilities by weaving traditional Chinese music instruments and folk tone with piano and Western style chamber music. A sweeping and at times epic recording, On & Between is a masterstroke of sophisticated storytelling performed by a stellar ensemble of musicians. Played by Lin Ma, the solo instrument and protagonist on this recording is the pipa (Chinese Lute), a traditional musical instrument with more than two thousand years of history. Collaborating artists include Grammy-nominees Cho-Liang Lin and Elmira Darvarova , Manhattan School of Music’s David Geber , the New York Philharmonic’s Liang Wang and Howard Wall, MET Orchestra’s Shenghua Hu and Milan Milisavljevic . Jazz musicians Braxton Cook and Curtis Nowosad add yet another dimension to this multilayered recording. The first track, “Arrival,” deftly references the “Going Home” theme from the second movement of Dvorak’s New World Symphony to display the solemn respect and sense of promise the United States places in the hearts of new immigrants. “Lost in the Midtown” bursts forth with inspired personification of each instrument as they create a tango inspired arrangement depicting an immigrant’s fight against social institutions. The concluding track, “Harmony,” revisits the opening “Going Home” motif. This time, played on the pipa, the foreign becomes familiar. Subtly showing the immigrant’s adoption of their new home while bringing the entire recording to a wholly satisfying and affirming close.

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: NV6146

  • UPC: 896931004466

  • Label: Navona