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World Music CD Reviews Asia & Far East

TIAN JIANG

By Brian Grosjean
Published February 17, 2006

Peacock Dance
Khaeon

Chinese classical pianist Tian Jiang uses western piano compositions to underscore Chinese musical themes on this album that documents Chinese popular music from the years of the Great Cultural Revolution (1966–1976). Most of these songs are completely unknown outside of China, written to inspire peasants–art as propaganda. Tian Jiang plays grand themes and melodies on solo piano interspersed all too occasionally with traditional instruments like bamboo flute, pipa and Chinese hand drums. Hence the music sounds much like typical 19th century western and Russian classical compositions. There are martial and patriotic themes, as well as traditional Chinese melodies harmonized in the Western Romantic style, all written under great duress, when China was pushing itself forward under the leadership of Chairman Mao.