“Stay, My Beloved” — A New Album From An Tran | tonebase Reviews
While Vietnamese guitarist An Tran has resided in the United States for much of his life, a deep connection with the music and culture of his home country has never faded.
In recent years, Tran has set out on a mission to build and promote the classical guitar repertoire of Vietnamese music by working and playing the pieces of local composers. The initial fruits of his efforts can be found in his first album “Stay, My Beloved” which presents 50 minutes of Vietnamese music — both old and new — written and arranged for the classical guitar.
The album itself is structured in a way that brings the listener on a journey through Vietnam. It kicks off with the first work, “The Legend of the Bamboo Child,” which depicts the “epic legend of a child leaping out of a crib” and growing into a giant that fights off foreign invaders. The fourteen minute piece showcase’s Tran’s technical virtuosity alongside his emotional connection to the music that serves the listener so well.
This epic opening is followed by Tran’s most recent commission from the Vietnamese composer Thế-An who also arranged and composed several other pieces on this album. “Lullaby (Ru Con)” conveys a “beautiful memory of sacred maternal love” where the composer is remembering the sounds of his mother singing him to sleep.
The traditional folk song “Floating Duckweeds, Drifting Clouds” is well known in Vietnam and fittingly is one of the most popular Vietnamese arrangements for classical guitar. Tran’s gorgeous tone and sense of melodic phrasing makes listening to this track a joyous and celebratory experience.
The next several pieces feature the music of composer Đặng Ngọc Long and convey the landscape and natural wonders of Vietnam. While “Rain” sweeps you along a flowing river of repeated arpeggios, “Central Highlands of Vietnam” uses a series of extended techniques to capture the sounds of Vietnam’s mountainous region.
The album’s final piece and title track “Stay, My Beloved” brings the journey through Vietnam to a beautiful and satisfying conclusion. A folk song often “sung when festivals are about to end,” the melody depicts the melancholy of departure while hanging on to a tinge of hope at the possibility of meeting again.
In all, this album is a work that can be appreciated and enjoyed by all audiences. While classical guitar fanatics will find satisfaction in the virtuosity of the compositions and Tran’s playing, casual classical music listeners will appreciate the thoughtful programming and deep musicality behind each note that is played. Either way, this is an album to put on your heavy rotation!
- The Legend of the Bamboo Child (Thánh Gióng) — The An, Nguyen
- Lullaby (Ru Con) — The An, Nguyen
- Drifting Duckweeds, Floating Clouds (Bèo Dạt Mây Trôi) — Traditional
- Rain (Mưa) — Ngoc Long, Dang
- Central Highlands of Vietnam (Núi Rừng Tây Nguyên) — Ngoc Long, Dang
- Remembrance (Hồi Tưởng) — Ngoc Long, Dang
- Stay, My Beloved (Người Ơi, Người Ở Đừng Về) — The An, Nguyen
About An Tran
Praised for his “gorgeous playing” with “flawless technique” by the KnoxTNToday and considered as a “Vietnamese guitar virtuoso” by Austin Classical Guitar, guitarist An Tran has captivated audiences throughout North America and Asia. Most recent seasons brought An to different parts of the world, including recitals for Bangkok Guitar Society, Austin Classical Guitar, Toronto International Guitar Series and many more. Current 2019–20 season highlights include An’s Midwest tour including concerts in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, as well as solo concert at the IX Latin-American Guitar Festival and the prestigious Segovia Classical Guitar Series in Chicago, USA in May 2020. Learn More.