Sojourn - The very best of XueFei Yang
“Whenever you re-visit a place, you see it with fresh eyes and discover new things alongside the familiar. Sojourn is that same combination of the familiar, plus some new surprises.”
The name of Xuefei Yang’s latest album ushers in on the listener an atmospheric contemplation in a temporary state of repose, a musical landscape of excitement for both past and future. Of course, repose isn’t everything Yang’s playing is about, as is obvious on Sojourn: The Very Best of Xuefei Yang, a compilation album of her very best played pieces in the young guitarist’s repertoire. For if this album was only about repose, the music wouldn’t bring on us the beautiful airiness that so easily perks our attention and gives us an easy attentive urgency.
Indeed, Yang’s playing is bright and approachable — the only commonality found in her very different array of pieces being a spiritual guidance from the young player’s heart. Versatility is what this album is all about: from the opening frolic of the delightful “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desire” (Bach) to the Chinese melodies of the tale of “The Butterfly Lovers,” Yang’s romanticism seeps from era to era in what seems to be a penchant for her unique brand of beauty. Even melancholy pieces on the album, like Tárrega’s “Recuerdos la Alhambra”, ring from Yang’s playing with a careful nod to the sullen intention of the songs while keeping a high eye on her positive voicings.
“Whenever you re-visit a place, you see it with fresh eyes and discover new things alongside the familiar. Sojourn is that same combination of the familiar, plus some new surprises.” And Yang’s comment on this album is beautifully implicit in her playing — Sojourn creates for us a place of comfortable contemplation and fortuitous originality. Whatever our young Yang has in store for us in the future, we will always look back on the lighthearted reminders of this record with an adventurous nostalgia.