I thoroughly enjoyed this yet another fine recording of Yundi Li, and have no reservation to recommend it to others interested in these timeless Chinese classics. Yundi breathed new life into the pieces through his magical fingures to give us these refreshing reditions.
It is interesting to compare this CD with that of one of Li's compatriots and colleagues, Mr. Lang's Dragon Songs, which contains a similar all-Chinese repertoire, in fact, several pieces are the same, including: The yellow river concerto and celebrating our new life (which was translated as "Happy Times" by Mr. Lang, perhaps to efface some of the political sentiments of the title to attract a wider audience). In fact, Mr. Lang has played some of the other pieces, such as Liu Yang River, colorful clouds chasing the moon, and my motherland in some other occasions and recordings. So it's interesting to see their styles in vivid contrast. I personally prefer Mr. Li's version much better. However, one hold back, though, is that in Li's version of the yellow river concerto, the orchestral support is much more inadequate compared with the luscious orchestral sound as heard in Lang's version. It is more likely a done-in by the still too young NCPA orchestra rather than a manifestation of Mr. Li's already refined artistry and musicmanship.
To say it all, if you enjoyed Mr. Lang's 2006 Dragon Songs album and look forward to some more treats in that style, look no further. Here Yundi has offered a much more interesting selection with wider representation of Chinese piano works. As qyu said, through Yundi's renewed interpretation some pieces have been abandoning their political color and can be appreciated by all for pure musical joy.
In that place wholly faraway
Glowing red morningstar lilies
Liu Yang River
Colorful clouds chasing the moon
Five Yunnan Folk Songs