Zhao Cong - Moonlight on Spring River
From the album "Sound of China" (2007)
Label: Universal Music, Beijing
Zhao Cong's website: zhaocong.net
Zhao Cong plays the ancient Chinese pipa, a four-stringed instrument sometimes referred to as the Chinese lute. She learned to play from a very early age and won her first important award at the age of 13. Zhao was later recruited as first pipa soloist of the Central Orchestra for Chinese Music in Beijing.
Zhao has toured in over 20 countries and performed for a dozen heads of state. Her popularity outside China and extensive touring have broadened her musical references to embrace other musical cultures and traditions, so that she now often performs a fascinating blend of classical Chinese music and music with Western references.
“Moonlight on Spring River” is a brilliant production made by Hans Nielsen, Focus Recording. He used Neumann U47, DPA 4040 microphones and his SSL mixing console for this project. The “Sound of China” recordings took place partly in China, in Denmark and in Prague, Czech Republic. The crispness of Zhao’s pipa is well defined with fine balance from the subtle opening, through the dynamic middle section, right to the end of the piece.
The huge soundstage, deep bass notes and impressive dynamics make this a unique sound experience, providing a glimpse of the potential for new modes of expression that can result from collaboration between musicians of very different cultural backgrounds and training. Remember that modern R&B, rock and pop are mostly derived from Afro-American blues, Portuguese Fado and the Spanish Flamenco tradition.