Wu

I’m always lured in by a musical composition that has a forceful opening, especially a piece of music scored for a large orchestra. Even better than the first paragraph of a novel that’s written in such a way that you can’t put it down, the opening measures can focus my attention and keep it there long after the initial jolt fades into more introspective material. Such is the case of Ge Gan-Ru’s Wu for piano and orchestra, which begins with a throbbing prepared bass note on the piano teeming with residual harmonics which from the very first second clearly dominates the rest of the orchestra. Ge’s music has an ideal interpreter in Margaret Leng Tan who has devoted much of her career to promulgating John Cage’s music for prepared piano and is therefore no stranger to playing outside or inside the piano and with or without extra gadgets attached. BIS’s super audio format also greatly enhances the sonic power of Ge’s orchestration, an added bonus on this first-ever all Ge Gan-Ru CD. (My recording trivia is correct this time.)

—FJO