New CD release:    

CD launching concert: September 8, 2011, 8pm: Église du Gesù (Espace Aline Letendre), Montreal, QC, Canada (followed by a reception).

Duo pipa and violin

"Along the Way"

Liu Fang and Malcolm Goldstein

  • Title: Along the Way
  • Cat. No.: PMPCD809
  • Artists: Liu Fang (pipa) and Malcolm Goldstein (Violin)
    Genre: Freestyle improvisation
  • Feature: From traditional to avant-garde
  • Label: Philmultic
  • Year of release: October 2010


From Chinese traditional music to avant-garde freestyle improvisation, this beautifully-packaged double-CD features the music created by the meeting of these two extraordinary artists of different cultures and even different generations - violinist Malcolm Goldstein (born 1936), one of the greatest maestros in the field of freestyle improvisation, and Chinese pipa virtuoso Liu Fang, young master on the traditional classical music of China. (more information on the duo and Press reviews on this double CD)

CD 1

Included between these duo settings are also some solo performances; Liu Fang presenting classical Chinese lute pieces and Malcolm Goldstein playing his soundings improvisations. Each alone now, their separate voices distinct, before another duet brings them together to discover new dimensions in improvisation.

[01] Songs across the border (duo) 18:25
[02] But one bird sang not (violin solo)
[03] Wild geese descending on a sandy beach (pipa solo)
[04] Beyond any border, the sky (duo) 4:27
[05] “My feet is tired, but my soul is rested” (violin solo)
[06] An air on a theme to dance (pipa solo)
[07] Falling snow decorating pine trees (duo)

(Total length: 63:02)

CD 2

Wind over earth, the grass in between stirred to dancing. So, too, this meeting of east and western sources resound a new music. Pipa and violin, both far distant and with ancient histories, come together in this shared space, interacting in the moment of encounter to reveal a unique quality of sounding. Wind blowing over the earth, the Aeolian harp responding.

The duets here are all improvisations; there is no pre-arranged framework for the music. It begins and flows freely, as each musician follows their own line within their common ground of listening. Improvisation allows for the logic of our total selves to participate; what comes forth is the coherence of the sounding gesture. Bow rubbing upon the string, plectrum snapping the silken thread; the two sources become one, a new sound-texture in the air.

[01] Keeps flowing away 9:02
[02] Sand tracing its clarity
[03] Over empty rocks
[04] Scuttle of wisp blown sounds
[05] Churning skies, the clouds
[06] Moon shadow lingering
[07] Amid stark twilight
[08] Horizons never quite

(Total length: 68:40)

Press reviews on this double CD

"Liu Fang is a Chinese musician living in Canada. She is an internationally-acclaimed virtuoso playing traditional and contemporary music on two beautiful instruments: the pipa (Chinese lute) and the Guzheng (Chinese zither). She also improvises and met with the master Malcolm Goldstein from the west, violinist, best known for experimental music circles.
They recorded a duet this fantastic double CD. If the second (and excellent) disk offers only freely improvised duets, the first (well, the CD numbered 1), presents a fascinating cultures and techniques of each, alternating solo and duo, writing and improvisation. And even when put into perspective Goldstein reinterprets a piece of Bela Bartok that he had transposed from a record in 1935 (by Halima Hvro) of a traditional song of Central Europe ... Be discovered with such a happy blues GOLDSTEIN hallucinated the same or a piece of Chinese composer Liu Tianhua. What is striking is the perfect first agreement, following a course of exceptional listening level of both players. Then (and at the same time) their ability to leave natural idioms yet aesthetically very marked. This can only be made ??possible only by the quality control that is indispensable style ... What is expected of artists ... but we do not always get ... Despite the apparent formal increased linearity proposed by the pipa, the violin is more "trash" (well, relatively, changes being made ??by held in the bow, which can differentiate other technical considerations of the lute), the dialogue moves in subtle improvisations in duo. We can say that we have to hear music that advance, which places it in the poetry category.

Improvisation: to be with/in the sound; a process of sounding:

Sounding: plumbing the depths of sound and in/of me. All sounds. Touch releasing things into motion; gesture realized/resonances of texture becoming song.

The word "sound" implies the singular form, whereas every sound is a complex of many "sounds": multiplicities of overtones and noises (bow friction on the string, breath within the cavity of mouthpiece, stroke of articulation, etc.), nuances of dynamics, etc. that are continually changing and, as well, each aspect changing in its own way and own time... levels and balances of and within details changing beyond the organizing mind's conscious control, though available to the whole mind that is open to perceive/receive, being continually present, what "is".

To enter into this process, listening as to become one with this "as is" endlessly becoming, is like stepping into the flow of a brook, discovering new, subtle twists and turns within the current. So also the mind can be imaged as this dynamic fluidity, as a multiplicity of mental time-spaces simultaneously active, interacting within its own various dimensions, as well as with the physical time-spaces of external phenomena. To enter this process and to resonate this sound/space is improvisation as "sounding": plumbing the depths and bringing forth whatever needs to be done/heard; following the line as it unfolds and releasing it in the gesture of performance.

With two, as here a violinist and pipa musician, the spectrum of sound/tonal-textures (such two different instruments and different sources of culture!) becomes expanded and enriched further. But the focus of being with/in the sound, here/now two becoming as one, remains essentially the same. Music enacted this way as the process of living, sounding.

- Malcolm Goldstein for "along the way".


This recording was made possible through the assistance of the Canada Music Fund and the Music Section of the Canada Council for the Arts.


Solo albums

Chinese pipa music

Chinese traditional pipa music

Chinese traditional pipa music

Chinese traditional pipa music



Duo violin and pipa

Duo pipa and guitar

Flute, guzheng and pipa: music for meditation and taiji

Flute, guzheng and pipa: music for meditation and taiji

Arabic and Chinese music

Pipa and Guzheng music



Graphic design: Eric Beausejour (Tel.: 514-572-9429)