Cheng Yu and Dennis Kwong Thye Lee: Longyin/The Dragon Chants (ARC/digital outlets)

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Llangxiao Lin/Prelude to a Peaceful Evening
Cheng Yu and Dennis Kwong Thye Lee: Longyin/The Dragon Chants (ARC/digital outlets)

The acclaimed Cheng Yu has appeared at Elsewhere a number of times, sometimes under her own name but also as part of the Silk String Quartet.

As a virtuoso on the Chinese zither (guqin, or qin) and the lute-like pipa, she has traveled extensively and performed with pianist Lang Lang and Damon Albarn among many others.

Dennis Kwong Thye Lee on xiao (bamboo flute) hasn't crossed out path previously but that's more about us than him: he has been performing for four decades.

Both of these artists currently live in London and here unite for a quietly engrossing album where the warmth of Cheng Yu's 1930s instrument has a slightly lazy effect and in one instance – on Drunken Ecstasy – a somewhat woozy sound.

These traditional pieces are mostly reflective as the titles indicate: Mist and Clouds Over the Xiao and Xiang Rivers (a solo piece for flute); Lament at Changmen Palace; Autumn Thoughts at Lake Dangling; Moon Over the Mountain Pass . . .

Obviously not an album many would immediate gravitate too but we bring it to attention because Cheng Yu is such a wonderful player and this is gentle and engaging.

And, as always with releases on ARC, an excellent booklet with explanatory and biographical notes. 


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