From track 5 to track 8, we turn to Phạm Duy unanimously recognized as the single man who cast the longest shadow across the music of his country in this century. Since war precludes Vietnam from building any solid basis for a higher musical culture, the only creative outlet has been through vocal compositions. But the situation there is more often than not quite baroque (in both the figurative and the comparative senses): it allows just unadorned melodies, the composer having typically left all attempt at accompaniment to the discretion of his performing groups. So the tune is all there could ever be. That’s truest with Phạm Duy. What melodies!
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.