Ji Liu

Piano Reflections

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This release is issued by the large British Classic FM radio network, which knows its soothe-seeking audience well. Credit where credit is due: classical music probably commands a larger audience share in Britain than it does anywhere else, and that's due in large part to the efforts of the radio network, and now the label. Chinese-British pianist Ji Liu fits the profile of the musicians the label favors: he sticks to mainstream repertory, produces a consistent tone with a bit of a sheen, and looks good in graphics with a strong youth pop component. The new wrinkle here is that he includes a work from his homeland, Autumn Moon Over the Calm Lake, by Lü Wencheng, a Cantonese staple of the pre-Communist era whose pentatonic scales are the only thing distinguishing it from Western models. It has survived the unthinkable changes that have occurred in its place of origin over three-quarters of a century, and it's a pleasant thing that fits in nicely. There's no question that those looking for some classical piano favorites to relax to will have their needs met.

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