China's rising economic and cultural status has given a certain weight to the collaborative Yellow
River Piano Concerto. Sure, the piano part is still highly technical, dripping in nationalistic syrup and based on worker hymns like "The Wrath of the Yellow River." But a modern political context and fresh recording by Chopin Piano Competition-winner Li Yundi endows the hackneyed score with some
intellectual complexity. Accompanied by nationalistic miniatures, the set is a bit ham-handed, but
Yundi's performance makes for a fascinating historical trip into the dawn of East-West culture wars.