Various Artists

Chinese Virtuoso Instrumental Music

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Chinese Virtuoso Instrumental Music is a sampler from Chinese label Rhymoi Music, which makes audiophile quality discs of classical Chinese music in high resolution formats; this particular disc is an XRCD. You can hear every little wiggle of even the smallest sound wave in these recordings; moreover, the recordings are crisp, articulate, and accurate. Each disc comes in a hard case with stiff, hardback-like boards rather than a flimsy jewel case and an attractive booklet glued inside so that you never lose it, and the Rhymois are plentiful in terms of annotations and photos. This collection, however, is a little different from the average sampler in that everything on it was recorded especially for this album; it is not culled from their various other releases but is meant to parallel them and utilizes many of the same performers who appear on other Rhymoi discs. It's a beautiful album, too, opening with a dazzling take on the traditional pipa piece Ambush on Ten Sides as played by Zhang Qiang. Each piece features a different solo instrument, such as the Erhu, dizi, guqin, and guzheng; however, there is a lot of very nicely balanced ensemble playing, as well, such as in the accompaniment for the dizi piece simply identified as Folk Tune. Other pieces, such as Three Variations on Yangguan and Waterfall from an Overhanging Cliff, are striking for the sheer loveliness of what they are and the relaxed, easy pace of the music.

As a package that hits the high points of the various Chinese instruments and instrumental styles, Rhymoi Music's Chinese Virtuoso Instrumental Music is definitely a strong recommend. However, if one is merely looking for something relaxing and entertaining and likes music with an Asian flavor, it's also very good for that.

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