Review - The Map

Artist: Tan Dun

"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.