Tseng Yung-Ching,
Magic of the Chinese Flute
(ARC, 2002)

Tseng Yung-Ching is a master in the northern school of flute performance. He is trained in both Western classical music and traditional Chinese style. Born in 1944 in the city of Tienjin, he has performed all over the world. His virtuosity on the bamboo flute is captured in the 13 tracks on this disk.

Selections range from traditional folk melodies like "The Little Cowherd" to songs from the Chinese opera like "Li-chu's Dream." The liner notes tell us that Yung-Ching is an innovator in capturing the essence of the operatic styles. He "uses his flutist's breath control to shape the vocal lines, and the voice of his flute, though wordless, still conveys all the nuance of the words' meaning, and all the modulations of voice that create the opera's rich tapestry of drama, speech, and music."

This is a virtuoso recording that captures many moods. In the lively "Bird in the Shadows," he uses a variety of techniques to imitate the sound of birdsong. The lyrical melody of "View of a Mountain Village" is more meditative and captures the viewer's response to the beauty of the mountains. Some of the folk melodies, including "Wheat Harvest," and "The Oriole Spreads His Wings," are as lively and happy as jigs.

All in all the mood of the disc is peppy and cheerful rather than meditative. If you enjoy the bamboo flute beautifully played, then you'll like it.

- Rambles
written by Janice Snapp
published 28 February 2004

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