Chen Zhong is one of China's most revered musicians and teachers. Seventy-five when this recording was made, he has spent a lifetime playing several instruments and keeping the Shanghai style alive. This is music for two, three, or four play and Zhong is accompanied by two Chinese musicians and the French Sino-musicologist Francois Picard. In various combinations they play flutes, ocarina, fiddles, and zithers. The ocarina in question is not the Western ocarina of course, but a round clay flute with a 7000-year history; reviving its use in secular music is one of Zhong's many achievements. Zhong plays solo pipa (lute) on one track and exhibits some impressive fingerpicking. On another, Zhong plays end-blown flute (something like a recorder) and is accompanied by Yang Lining on the zheng zither, which in this piece is strummed gorgeously in the manner of a harp. In general, the music is refined but always listenable. A pleasant addition to a Chinese classical music collection.
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AllMusic Review by Kurt Keefner