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Forty Degrees North Enhanced, Import


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1. Albeniz: Sevilla
2. Albeniz: Cordoba
3. Albeniz: Castilla (Seguidillas)
4. Goss: The Chinese Garden - Jasmine Flower (Mo Li Hua)
5. Goss: The Chinese Garden - Red Flowers Blooming All Over the Mountain
6. Goss: The Chinese Garden - Blue Orchid (Lan Hua Hua)
7. Tarrega: Variations on the Carnival of Venice
8. He Zhanhad & Chen Gang: The Butterfly Lovers (I. Falling In Love)
9. Granados: Valses Poeticos #1
10. Granados: Valses Poeticos #2
11. Granados: Valses Poeticos #3
12. Granados: Valses Poeticos #4
13. Granados: Valses Poeticos #5
14. Granados: Valses Poeticos #6
15. Granados: Valses Poeticos #7
16. Granados: Valses Poeticos #8
17. Granados: Valses Poeticos #9
18. Wang Huiran: Yi Dance
19. Huang Zi: Plum Blossoms In the Snow
20. Wang Luobin: A La Mu Han

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Amazon.com: 14 reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Unique talent, unique perspective, and as close to an autobiography as you will get in classical music May 15 2008
By William N. Gross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Yang Xue Fei is on a mission to change how we listen to guitar. This is an extremely ambitious goal, approached and achieved in the past by the likes of Segovia and Bream. It sets her apart from other guitarists, no matter how wonderful or dazzling their talents.
As is always the case with Fei, it's fascinating to observe how her culture influences her art. Her right hand technique, in particular her tremolo, is unique (influenced by the pipa?) and she can draw her repertoire from a civilization stretching back thousands of years. All of this is played through an instrument that came of age in Spain. Perhaps due to existing in two cultures (born in China, now living in the West) she seeks out new ways to bridge the gap. "40 Degrees North" does just that, while pushing her agenda forward in convincing fashion.
This collection unites not only two musical traditions, but the body of work that Yang Xue Fei has produced thus far, the logical next step to follow "Si Ji" and "Romance de Amor." The transitions from Spanish compositions to Asian repertoire are smooth and artful; the lightness and tranquility of "Jasmine Flower" is magnified by the brightness of "Castilla" which precedes it. The transition from "Blue Orchid" to "Variations on the Carnival" is seamless; borders are erased and energies fused. Yang joins these two different aesthetics, and though she makes the task seem effortless, it's born from years of discipline, native artistic talent and a pioneering spirit.
The material spans 3 centuries, and includes strong compositions by Stephen Goss (who shares Yang's musical goals), traditional Chinese pieces and Spanish repertoire. The Chinese pieces might be new for most Western ears, though fans of Asian music will recognize many themes. "The Butterfly Lovers" stands out for its tenderness and elegance. The Spanish works sound new again thanks to Yang's arrangements and timing, as well as the placement (playing order) mentioned previously. The Valses Poeticas have never been so aptly named. She just makes little changes, but it makes a world of difference. This is her strong suite, never to be satisfied, always to want for a new creation. This is her great gift to us as listeners.
This is the third recording of "Yi Dance" by Yang. The first (Classical Guitar by Xue Fei Yang) was filled with exuberance. For the second outing (Si Ji) the arrangement was revised significantly. This current version is the polished result of hundreds of performances over the years. She dances between the literal, the symbolic and the abstract qualities that tie all the elements together; we watch the song, we listen to the dance. The pauses have been tightened by microseconds and either her playing or the recording techniques have brought out the undertones to brilliant effect. Listening to the 3 variations in succession, one can see how she has both sharpened and softened her talents over the last few years. She is able to transport the listener to a new landscape through her power of expression and great technical skills.
"40 Degrees North" is an excellent CD from an exceptional talent. Her unique perspective and vitality shine through in every note and nuance. It's a personal statement, an autobiography from an artist with few boundaries. Yang Xue Fei takes the listener into musical territory that is hers alone, but ours to share.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A classical guitarist's tribute to her own instrument. Aug. 30 2012
By Abert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Chinese `pipa' has a history ploughing back to over two thousand years. Discoveries of an old type of pear-shaped lute dated back to B.C. in Europe, and the other type of ancient lute has more of the modern guitar shape. Both types of lute originated in the Hindu-Persian regions and spread to western Europe. The pipa was brought into China from the Pakstanian regions, being the overall nomenclature of all the different types of lute instruments, with the characters of `pi' and `pa' depicting the method of playing.
That the Chinese pipa and the Western guitar are blood-relatives was never doubted by historians.
In this album, Yang Xuefei included both Western and Eastern compositions to high light the original nature of her instrument. There are notable Chinese melodies drawn from the North-westerly regions of China (Lan Hua Hua, a Mongolian folksong; the famous Jasmine Flower erroneously `taken' by the West as the Qing Empire's `national anthem'; the Yi Dance; Alamuhan, a Uighur folksong; and even the Violin Concerto `Butterfly Lovers', et al).
Yang's playing is fresh and expressive and never short of being soulful, but it does take the listener's pains to be acquainted with that part of the Chinese programme, so this recording is in reality a tribute paid by this eminent classical guitarist to China, but even more so, to the very instrument who owes its roots to both the east and the west.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Between East ahd West and Beyond Nov. 15 2009
By Willie B. - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I just came home from an astounding and captivating solo performance by Xufei Yang and immediately downloaded Forty Degrees North (having purchased her Romance De Amor CD at the concert and listened to it on my car stereo on the way home). I'm now listening to Forty Degrees North, and I must say that it does not disappoint in the slightest. This young woman, displaying extraordinary discipline and mastery of technique, has managed to effortlessly blend the soul of her Chinese cultural heritage with the demands of the European classical guitar. Her passion for the music of Albeniz and Tarrega carries seamlessly to the exacting and moving oriental roots of Chinese folk tunes adapted by Welsh composer Stephen Goss expressly for her in the "Chinese Garden" suite, of which all but one part appear on this album. This is an album that stands with the best of modern classical guitar masterworks in its ability to move the listener's soul into a special place of peace and passion. I can't wait for her next album. Perhaps it will include the Leo Brouer tripartite Sonata that Ms. Yang so compellingly performed tonight.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
a delight Aug. 19 2011
By lostcowgirll - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
so beautiful, easy to just get lost in this wonderful Cd I just ordered my second Cd if it is just a great as this on I will order all of her Cds you should try it ......
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Exceptional performance and good transcriptions Oct. 17 2013
By Vincent Wong - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Yang is probably one of the best guitarists today. Great technical execution and sensible musicality. The Butterfly Lovers transcription is wonderfully well done and well played. She manages to capture both the violin melody and the orchestral accompaniment with balance and poise. Well done!


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