New CD from the Moscow Soloists and their charismatic director Yuri Bashmet. Their first ONYX release (Symphonies by Shostakovich, Sviridov and Vainberg ONYX4007) won a Grammy nomination in 2007 and their second - Stravinsky Apollo/Prokofiev Visions Fugitives ONYX4017) won the Grammy Award 2008 in the Chamber Ensemble category.
This disc is their most enterprising so far, and features Bashmet as violist and violinist as well as director : a Pilgrimage from Russia to the Far East an enterprising mix of cultures and flavours in works from China and Japan.
Tan Dun is of course well-known in the West for 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' and is now based in New York. This world premiere recording is for pipa, a 4-stringed ancient Chinese lute-like instrument. Wu Man is its foremost exponent and a prominent soloist as well as leading member of Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road project.
Takemitsu is Japan's best-known composer. Nostalghia was written in memory of Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky (and featuring Bashmet on violin!), plus three short film scores , Takemitsu's favourite genre.
Finally, a substantial addition to the viola concerto repertoire : Hayashi's Concerto 'Elegia' (1995), a highly approachable and yearning score with hints of Janacek and Bartok as well as a distinctive Japanese flavour.