Often described as the Chinese ‘violin’, the erhu belongs to the fiddle family, that is to say lute family - for the shape - but whose strings are made to vibrate with a bow.
The erhu has two metal strings, which used to be made of silk in the past; it is equipped with a fretless neck mounted in a small resonating chamber of hexagonal or octagonal shape. This type of instrument has a non-Chinese origin: it seems to have been imported from Central Asia or borrowed from the nomadic peoples of the North, not earlier than the tenth century. The erhu was traditionally played in regional opera and instrumental ensembles. Only in the twentieth century it became a solo recital instrument. In the 1920s, artists such as conservatory professor Liu Tianhua or Abing, a street musician, began composing music showing the level of expressiveness the erhu is capable of, thus transforming this Chinese fiddle into a virtuoso instrument. The new erhu compositions by conservatory-trained artists combined some traditional Chinese elements with Western ones, such as aspects of violin technique.
The CD presents several classic pieces from the repertoire of erhu, pieces from important composers of this century (Lü Wencheng, Cao Yuanda, Liu Tianhua, Abing) often inspired by folk melodies (Muyang nü, The shepherdess; Saima, Horse race) or from landscapes and natural event (Pinghu qiuyue, Autumn moon on the calm lake; Liang xiao, A beautiful night, Erquan ying yue, Reflections of the moon on Erquan).
The CD is completed by two original compositions by GUO Gan. Xiangshui nühai, Scented maiden, is a tribute to the beauty of Chinese women and Shanghai fanguan, Shanghai Taverne, describes the warm welcome typical of small restaurants in the city, with a musical style that is copied from the Jiangnan sizhu genre.
GUO Gan (Yi-zhen is his stage name) was born in Shenyang. Elegance and virtuosity characterizes Gan's style. Guo Gan in the years has worked hard to popularize his instruments, playing and recording in musical situations very different from the original Chinese musical scene.
Guo Gan has reached an international recognition playing with prestigious artists such as Lang Lang, Didier Lockwood, Yvan Cassar, Gabriel Yared, Jean François Zygel. This has been his way to remain faithful to the teachings he got from his first teacher, his father, Guo Jun Ming (1940--2010), a legendary ehru player.
Guo Gan got his diploma from the Conservatory of ShenYang, where he taught from 1995. In 2001, Guo Gan decided to move to Paris to expand his musical horizons. He entered in the Ecole Nationale de Musique de Fresnes following the jazz percussion classes with Vives Querol Marc. At the same time he has given concerts receiving regular invitation from theaters and festivals in Europe and USA.
Guo Gan has played with Orchestre de Paris Opéra, as well as with the Orchestras from New York, Prague and China. He performed in prestious theaters in New York - Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Centre -, Chicago (Symphonie Hall), Los Angeles (Orange County Hall, Victoria Concert), at Hall de Genève, Théâtre du Châtelet, Salle Gaveau and Palais des Congrès, Cité de la Musique (Paris), at the Opéra House in Guang Zhou (China). Besides concerts and performances Guo Gan has composed soundtracks for films: L'idole, Le Premier Cri, AO, Shao Lin, Sparrow, Sa Majesté Minor, and documentaries Chang Da-Qian, Himalaya; has recorded several CDs (Le 3 violon du Monde; Paris-Istanbul-Shanghai; Yue Luo with Lingling Yu) and three solo albums in solo