"The Map" is both a cello concerto and a "multimedia event in rural China" (as this DVD presentation is tagged). Tan Dun is a bold musician and composer, and as both a concerto and an event, this piece succeeds exquisitely. Only by viewing The Map, with all of its interlocking musical and nonmusical elements, can you get a real grip on the impact of the composition. The musicians be they star cellist Anssi Karttunen or the tongue-singers, stone-drummers and cry-singers Tan Dun found in the Hunan province are equal in importance to the ebb and flow of "The Map," as are the dancers, rhythmic visuals and accompanying text shown on video screens. This is a bracing and challenging piece of work that demands to be taken in on its own terms.
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