The Free-Reed Review
Critiques of Compact Discs, Books and Music Scores

CD Review: Zhang Guoping
14 Golden Accord Music

Zhang Guoping: Piano Accordion


Var. on a Russian Folk Song: Gridin
Var. on a Ukrainian Folk Song: Gridin
Autumn Dream: Shenderev arrangement
Foggy Weather in the Valley: Batveyev arrangement
Spanish Dance No. 5: Granados/Lips arrangement
The Happy Sheng: Yang Teigang
Goddess Scattering Flowers: Yuqiu
Prelude and Allemand: Bach
Sonata in F Major: Scarlatti
Sonata in G Major: Scarlatti
Toccata: Repnikov
Improvisation: Repnikov
Capriccio: Repnikov
Kalina Krasnaja: Semyonov

total time: 65 min. and 22 sec.
released: unknown
review date: April, 2000

label: ISRC NC-A01-95-662-00/a.j6
Order from: The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. Online Gift Store

Review by Robert Karl Berta :

WOW, what a gorgeous recording! I received this CD some time ago...due to some heavy personal work loads I had the perfect excuse to take my time in reviewing this CD. I would tell you that I don't often review a CD with one listening. It becomes my constant companion. I listen to it as I do my weekly shopping, during coffee breaks, hikes around my house and on my home stereo. My theory is based on my ideas about art work. You may be attracted to a photograph or painting on first viewing. You take it home and hang it on your wall. At first you may like it but after a while you become very never reveals any new beauty to you. On the other hand an art work that was very subtle that remains on your wall for a long time often keeps growing in stature as you discover nuances and new revelations.

Using this same style has proven to be a good way to determine if a CD recording is outstanding or simply boring. And, you can guess what my opinion is of a CD that gets played once in my CD player. Well to make a long story short....I estimate I have heard this complete CD a minimum of perhaps 25 times! Every listening becomes a new experience with new subtleties revealed every time. I marvel at the outstanding musicality and technical proficiency that the artist exhibits. You will hear selections from the virtuoso repertoire of the Russian school of accordion and you will be treated to some Bach and Scarlatti. And as if to state that the Chinese are capable of outstanding compositions, the artist threw in two Chinese compositions. And frankly they were a breath of fresh air! Over the years I have had the opportunity to hear several Chinese compositions and always found them to be wonderful. I understand that the accordion is the most popular instrument in China...and that they favor western music from the "Golden Age of the Accordion" that we are all familiar with. Hopefully they recognize the treasure they have in their own compositions and will continue to try to share them with westerners.

I found very little too complain about on the CD. The recorded sound was among the best I have heard....very nice sounding accordion that impressed me with all of the reed combinations that the artist utilized to full effect. I did hear a slight background hum on two selections that was just barely audible. I thought all the arrangements were wonderful except for the last selection, Kalina Krasnaja by V. Semyonov. I have heard Prof. Semyonov play this selection live a couple of times and also have a couple of recordings of it. I felt that Zhang Guoping's arrangement was overly heavy and missed the lyrical mood that was intended in the composition.

But overall this is one outstanding recording.

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