Sep 202013
 

A thoroughly Italianate vocal line distinguishes the first selection, Hương Xưa (Aria All’antica), elaborate scena con recitativo which constitutes an idyllic hymn to pre-war Vietnam, from its three companions. The last one of this first group, Hoài-Cảm (Secrèters Langueurs), with it well-contrasted opening and middle sections, the first a Largo doloroso in C-minor, the second a swaying valse lente in the parallel major key, has always been a favorite with the Vietnamese young ladies who want to graduate from Chopin’s Waltz in A-minor into something even more congenial. On the other hand, our second selection, Nguyệt-Cầm (Selenemorphosa), has always kept its forbidding reputation. Both the poetry and the music are recondite. Continue reading »

Sep 202013
 

In presenting this small selection of Vietnamese music, we have chiefly opted for the most transcriptible material at hand: Westernized vocal compositions written especially for the native audience, newly recreated as concert solos for the piano, in a composite style which aimed to combine two aspects of nineteenth-century western music, i.e. post-classical performance practice with late romantic harmonic language. Continue reading »