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Chen Jun: Erhu Classics

Funny how culture ebbs and flows, and what was exotic last year greets the ear like a friend this year. So it is, listening to the sweet, accomplished playing of erhu player Chen Jun, on the album Erhu Classics. Thanks to the increasing interest in Chinese music, both in classical circles and on the soundtracks of such popular cinema as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the ancient two-stringed Chinese violin has entered the mass Western consciousness. On this collection, Chen demonstrates the qualities of technical flourish, rich tone and nuanced feeling that have earned him the sobriquet as “the Paganini of the erhu.” Idyllic references to nature often appear, as in Chen’s own piece, “Beautiful Coconut Tree Island,” or the rustic character of “Village Scenery,” by his father Chen Yao-xing, a celebrated erhu player, one generation up. The junior virtuoso gets a hardy workout, without seeming to break a sweat, on the closing track, “Galloping War-Horses,” also written by his father.

Originally Published