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Christine Tsen | From the Land of Song

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Classical: Chamber Music Folk: Traditional Folk Moods: Type: Lyrical
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From the Land of Song

by Christine Tsen

This album is a collection of classical and folk-inspired music for cello and piano. Songs from Wales, Korea, Ireland, Scotland. It also features two premiere recordings written for the artist.
Genre: Classical: Chamber Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Swan
2:42 album only
2. Gabriel's Oboe
4:14 album only
3. Introduction et Polonaise brilliante
9:12 album only
4. Crossing to Ireland
1:57 album only
5. Da Full Rigged Ship & Da New Rigged Ship
2:34 album only
6. Sister Jean
2:11 album only
7. Korean Folk Song
4:22 album only
8. Arioso
3:30 album only
9. Song Without Words
5:30 album only
10. From the Land of Song
14:24 album only
11. Playing Love
3:08 album only


Album Notes
PROGRAM NOTE on The Land of Song by David Evan Thomas:

My cellist sister Christine requested a suite of folk songs from Wales—often called the “Land of Song”—for recital use. Chris sent a list of her favorite tunes; I chose five that make a little journey through the repertoire, as well as a display piece for her talents.

From the Land of Song (O Gwlad y Gân) (2010):

Pant Corlan yr Wyn (Let Now the Harp)
Tros y Garreg (Over the Stone)
Yn Nyffryn Clwyd (The Missing Boat)
Ar hyd y nos (All Through the Night)
Dwfn Yw’r môr (Well I Know This Lovely Place)

Approaching as if from a distance, the cheerful “Let Now the Harp” is answered by its inverted form, which foreshadows the well-known “All Through the Night,” and the two dialogue in sonata style. “Over the Stone” recalls Fauré in its siciliana setting. “The Missing Boat” has special significance: our great-great-grandfather, John Thomas of Aberaeron, Wales, captained the clipper-built schooner Clifton, which ran aground on Bideford Bar in a storm on December 3, 1859, drowning him with three of his crew. His son, Thomas Bennett Thomas, subsequently emigrated to the U.S., founding the American branch of our family. While “All Through the Night” needs no introduction, note that its incipit is shared by “Well I Know This Lovely Place,” making a smooth bridge to the finale. The latter tune develops in a Schumannesque manner, leading to a virtuosic coda.

From the Land of Song received First Prize (The Myfanwy Bajaj Prize) in the 2010 Ninnau and Y Drych Music Eisteddfod.


Cellist Christine Thomas Tsen attended Eastman School as an undergraduate studying under Paul Katz. She received her Masters with high honors from the New England Conservatory studying under Colin Carr. More at www.ChristineThomasTsen.com.

Grace Choi is an accomplished composer and pianist. She studied at Brandeis University, Peabody Institute, and Seoul National University.

Narine Babadjanian studied piano performance at Tbilisi State Conservatory in Georgia. She has performed with orchestras throughout Europe.

Born in Rochester, New York, David Evan Thomas studied at Northwestern University, the Eastman School, and with Dominick Argento at the University of Minnesota. His work has been commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and published by ECS, Augsburg Fortress and MorningStar. More at www.davidevanthomas.com.

This CD is dedicated with love to my parents John and Mimi Thomas.

Playing Love (by Christine Tsen)

Departing the stage, he rises into the concert hall of the streets
Takes out his encores, his chocolate Chaconne —
Fingers lovingly vivacious, he evaporates into sparks
He knows it is about true artistry as they file vacantly by
Hurrying to their three-headed corporeal offices.

Before the rains, fingering a rosary of hues,
Her soft gentle hands chalk a coating of joy on cracked concrete.
As the bunioned oh-so-sophistocated rush by
She rehearses over and over her art’s death.

In a forget-me-not garden I take out my dulcimer.
Entranced fingers strew delicate orchids
As the children gather one by one to listen.
The parents pull petulantly, insistently
Frustrated at the pause they are being forced to take in life
The spirited Sufis know their birthright is every last Note.

Rumi’s bewilderment is free
And yet we hold cleverness dearer.
So our savage hearts ache
As we forsake the beauty that lifts us above savagery —

As the children turn to scatter into the throngs
Will they remember the gifts of love?

© 2010 Christine Tsen. All Rights Reserved.



to write a review

composer/jazz pianist Michael Guy (a.k.a. Michael Guy L'ecluse)

Music that Streams thru your mind like the setting sun through my window...
(REVIEW) Your CD arrived yesterday; this afternoon with the warm sun streaming through the west window of my studio I finally got to listen to it on my best speakers. I was "taken aback!" Awesome! I expected a competent recital quality from this was artistry of the highest degree! Just superb sound; what a true concert it was! You are a "world class" virtuoso and the choice of material and its playing order was incredibly moving. I love the Celtic flavor and you not only have a superb accompanist but two of them! The piano and the choice of recording venue was excellent and gave great sound. I was not only soothed and moved by the melodic song pieces but that Chopin was nothing short of spectacular. The mingling of the perfect piano playing and your own awesome cello techniques was mind-blowing for me. I also enjoyed the original composition by Ms. Choi, Korean Folksong; it had an almost free improv quality, with your cello singing fluid notes, bends and glissando above great rhythmic piano parts. Though I play only jazz improvisations, I do compose in a more classical mode and most of my CD buying on Amazon is classical... This CD, whose production and artwork is of the highest degree is worth more than many repertoire CDs I have bought by major label artists on Amazon. I'd pay $16 or more for it. You are underselling-- Your years of study and playing have paid off highly. You should be signed with a label at the least. Finally I love how the work by your related composer (?brother) on "From the Land of Song" (track 10) blends so beautifully and leads to the final emotional song ending of track 11. A fitting closing for a great concert. Mr. David Thomas' composing is exquisite and its serene Celtic influenced classicism could only be achieved by a master composer. Totally enjoyed this release and PLEASE record a second concert of similar high artistry from all involved. PUT ME ON THE MAILING LIST...had I known it was this good, I would not have procrastinated it beyond your release in September 2010. Great American classical music from a master mistress of my favorite string instrument, the cello. PS: my 3rd edition of my Symphony ONE now begins with the cello, solo for the first 18 bars! Inspired by the sound of this lovely instrument!
Thanks for the music... Sincerely, Jazz pianist/composer Michael Guy

John Bidwell

When I purchased my first copy of “From The Land Of Song” nearly a year ago I just could not have imagined that any CD could hold such a place of significance in my life. Since my parents were both accomplished pianists who had accompanied a marvelous soprano in the 1960s and 1970s I was familiar with the beauty of this genre of music, but I had not given it any chance to touch me through the in suing years.
From the moment I heard the first measures of “The Swan” the magic all came back to me. This time I was more than ready to give it my full attention. The beautiful sounds were better than anything I remembered.
“With “Gabriel’s Oboe” I got a taste of the depths of feeling in store for me, and I knew this CD was going to stay with me in some remarkable way.
Into the third work, “Introduction et Polonaise brilliante” by Chopin, it was striking me that Christine Tsen and Grace Choi had the surplus talent to make these precious selections into any experience they desired. There is nothing these ladies can’t do on their instruments. This kind of talent brings a confidence and exuberance that makes for a rare gem in music and I felt as if I could hear smiles.
As I ponder this CD nearly a year later I can promise the wonder of it all has not waned in the slightest. It astonishes me every single time.
It is more than touching that this CD is a collaboration from a precocious musical family. The title selection “From The Land Of Song” highlights the musical genius of Christine Tsen’s brother and composer David Evan Thomas. Not since I discovered Philip Sparke had a modern composer’s genius astounded me like this. I love where this CD takes me. It could have been called, “To The Land Of Song.”
I have purchased and given out more copies of this CD than any other in my collection. It is always very well received. I even play it over the sound system in the medical office where I work. It never gets old, but always shines new.
Each time I hear the title track come to a close I am so sorry to hear this CD end, and then it doesn’t. “Playing Love,” the final track keeps the wonder going. You will be left wondering how long we must wait for the next Christine Tsen CD.

John H. Bidwell