The second recording from Margaret Leng-Tan, the "diva of the avant-garde", featuring works by three composers whom she specializes in: John Cage (USA), Somei Satoh (Japan) and Ge Gan-ru (China/USA). With Sonic Encounters: The New Piano, she explores the effect of Asian aestehtics on contemporary American composers and the influence of American composers on their Asian counterparts.
The first recordings of two early works by Cage impart a hard-edged brilliance not usually associated with the prepared piano. The serenly mystical works of HOVHANESS embody the Eastern influence of continual melodic invention. CRUMB's Five Pieces display an extreme sensitivity to the beauty and expressive powerof small units of sound. Satoh's work is both minimal and lushly romantic, creating a luminous sound of orchestral proportions. GE GAN-RU, China's foremost avant-garde composer, uses the piano to produce sonorities influenced by traditional Chinese instruments.
OK, so the repertoire (by Cage, Satoh and others) is pretty loopy. But, this is a great introduction to the exotic sounds of the avant-garde piano, and Margaret Leng Tan's scrupulous artistry reveals the extent to which she takes this music seriously.---Tamara Bernstein, "Essential Listening", Tower Guide to Classical Music, 2001
"Singapore native Margaret Leng Tan is one of the leading New Music pianists around. Tan plays all the works with grace, sympathy and power. Watch for her."---R.K. San Francisco Chronicle, April 24, 1991
"A feast of contemporary piano. If you think that you have to have a pile of electronics in order to find fresh timbral resources, Margaret Leng Tan would like to show you a thing or two."
---JA, Keyboard Magazine, April 1989
"This is an excellent, well-thought out, and intriguing disc in every respect."---Kyle Gann, Fanfare