"Along the Way" - New CD release:   

Press reviews / Critiques


1. Liu FANG & Malcolm GOLDSTEIN - Along The Way
Publié par ethnotempos le 20-May-2012.
- Stéphane Fougère

2. Revue & Corrigée

Liu Fang / Malcolm Goldstein
Along the Way
philmultic - PMPCD809
Distribution : metamkine

Liu FANG est une musicienne chinoise exilée au Canada. C’est une virtuose, de renommée internationale, jouant la musique traditionnelle ou contemporaine de son pays d’origine sur deux instruments magnifiques que sont le pipa (luth chinois) ou le guzheng (cithare chinoise). Elle improvise aussi et a rencontré le maître occidental Malcolm GOLDSTEIN, violoniste plus connu des cercles de musique expérimentale.
Ils ont enregistré en duo ce fantastique double CD. Si le deuxième (et excellent) disque propose uniquement des duos librement improvisés, le premier (enfin, le CD numéroté 1), expose de façon passionnante les cultures et techniques de chacun, alternant solo et duo, écriture et improvisation. Et même, mise en perspective lorsque GOLDSTEIN ré-interprète une pièce de Béla Bartok que celui-ci avait déjà transposé à partir d’un enregistrement de 1935 (par Halima Hvro) d’une chanson traditionnelle d’Europe centrale... On découvrira avec autant de bonheur un blues halluciné du même GOLDSTEIN ou une pièce du compositeur chinois Liu Tianhua. Ce qui frappe c’est d’abord la parfaite entente, issue bien sûr d’un exceptionnel niveau d’écoute des deux instrumentistes. Ensuite (et dans le même temps) leur capacité à quitter naturellement des idiomes pourtant très marqués esthétiquement. Ce ne peut être rendu possible que par cette qualité indispensable qu’est la maîtrise du style... Ce que l’on attend des artistes... mais que l’on n’obtient pas toujours... Malgré la plus grande linéarité formelle apparente proposée par le pipa, le violon étant plus "trash" (enfin, relativement, des variations étant apportées par les tenus à l’archet, ce qui peut en autres considérations techniques le différencier du luth), le dialogue subtil s’installe lors des improvisations en duo. On peut dire que nous avons à entendre une musique qui avance, ce qui la place dans la catégorie poésie.

3. Accueil : Culture : Musique : Vitrine du disque - 14 janvier 2011

Musique improvisée

Duo Pipa & Violin
Liu Fang & Malcolm Goldstein

Elle, originaire du Yunnan chinois et joueuse de pipa émérite, maîtrise un répertoire de musiques savantes ou traditionnelles. Lui, violoniste non moins virtuose, est un as de l'improvisation. En apparence, deux mondes aux antipodes et pourtant un seul langage qui leur appartient. Mais ce double CD requiert une écoute attentive. Le premier volet réserve plus de passages en solo. Les deux s'écoutent, se répondent en alternance et jouent parfois ensemble vers la fin des pièces. Elle joue classique, il improvise. Elle sonne chinois, il crée dans une sphère à part entre free jazz et free blues. Puis sur le deuxième CD, la rencontre se précise et tout devient improvisé. L'impro sans frontière avec son impressionnante palette sonore, son flot de petites notes et ses emportements, ses glissandos sur les raclements, ses ombres et lumières émergeant par le contraste. Le disque est déroutant, mais parfaitement créatif.

- Yves Bernard, Le Devoir, Montreal.

4. http://www.thewholenote.com/

Along the Way - Duo Pipa & Violin
Liu Fang; Malcolm Goldstein

Philmultic PMPCD809 www.philmultic.com

This double album reflects what appears to be a mini trend: skilled performers of disparate instruments and music genres who once never would have thought of sharing the same stage, coming together in collaborative un-scored improvisation.

The violinist Malcolm Goldstein (b. 1936) is an American born composer and violinist, specialising in free improvisation. Active in the new music scene since the early 1960s, he has developed a totally individual and original approach to violin playing, one which on first hearing sounds distinctly unorthodox. Goldstein’s approach is not to make the violin sound as it “should” in a conventional sense, but to explore making music on it from scratch. Far from being a naïf however, his approach is solidly rooted in the 20th century avant-garde music mainstream and also in Eastern European violin playing traditions.

Based in Montréal, the pipa soloist Liu Fang (b. 1974) has shown a commitment to crossing boundaries. Having obtained a solid foundation on her plucked lute-like instrument at the Shanghai Conservatory for Music, she has performed throughout the world and released 10 albums. In addition to her repertoire of Chinese traditional music Liu Fang has also embraced the culture of her adopted homeland. Her premieres of works by Canadian composers including R. Murray Schafer and José Evangelista demonstrate that. Along the Way is the latest installment of what she calls her “Silk and Steel” projects in which she collaborates with leading non-Chinese musicians from various traditions.

These two master musicians first performed together in 2003 and their years of mutual respect and musical understanding is audible on this album. They seem to be aiming to create 15 very different nature-referenced soundscapes in their improvisations. On track 1, CD 2, the predominant mood is dramatic, while on others it ranges from furious to quiet and silent, to sections sounding disputatious, furious, even bellicose. The dominant texture however is an eloquent musical dialogue with occasional virtuoso flourishes on both instruments; some on the violin would not be out of place in a European 20th c. concerto. Make no mistake, this is sophisticated, richly layered music

-Andrew Timar, The Wholenote Magazine, Toronto, Canada.

5. The wire (UK)

Liu Fang & Malcolm Goldstein
Along The Way
Philmultic 2×CD

Despite its rather unprepossessing cover, which looks like something you’d find sandwiched between essential oil diffusers and power balance bracelets in a New Age emporium, this is a daring combination of traditional Chinese music and free improvisation featuring violinist Malcolm Goldstein, born in Brooklyn in 1936, and pipa virtuoso Liu Fang, 38 years his junior, who hails from Yunnan Province, China. Both musicians are now based in Montréal, Canada.

In the same way that distinguishing between composition and improvisation is increasingly meaningless nowadays – Goldstein pulled up the fence between those two fields years ago – trying to draw lines between old and new, traditional and modern, and East and West makes little sense here. It’s impossible to tell without consulting the booklet which of Goldstein’s two solo tracks on the first disc is his own composition and which a version of a Bosnian folk song transcribed by Béla Bartók in 1943.

Conservatory-trained fiddlers who made the kind of sounds Goldstein revels in would probably be booted right out of the academy, but the raw, wooden crunch of his pizzicato and his mastery of extremes of bow pressure (harsh and scraping at rakish angles way over the fingerboard, or light and fluty, glistening with upper harmonics) makes his playing eminently compatible with non-Western musical traditions, where the noise associated with making the sound, be it the thwack of the bachi on a shamisen, the blast of draughty breath from a shakuhachi, or, as in the case of Fang’s pipa, the delicate rattle of her false fingernail plectra, is as important as the melodies and the rhythms being played. The phrase extended techniques has never seemed so useless. Nor is there any harmonic discrepancy between the folk material and the improvised passages: Goldstein’s passionate engagement with the violin as physical object and unabashed fondness for its open strings impart a clear sense of tonal centre, more often than not A, even to the wilder improvisations on disc two.

The track titles, with their birds, trees, sand, rocks and clouds, are not only in keeping with oriental tradition – “using natural scenes or phenomena to describe inner feeling is quite common in Chinese arts”, Fang writes – but also connect with Goldstein’s own Thoreau-inspired acoustic ecology. Not surprisingly, he compares this wonderful listening experience to “stepping into the flow of a brook, discovering new, subtle twists and turns within the current”.

- Dan Warburton, The wire, 2011

6. Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace

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


Samples of complete tracks can be found in Malcolm Goldstein's myspace (where tracks 2 & 4 are duo improvisation).


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


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