Duos – Alone
Tri Nguyen on Đàn-tranh and piano
Release date: 11th August 2023
Catalogue # NXW76167-2
Duos-Alone - the latest album from Vietnamese virtuoso Tri Nguyen – releases 11th August 2023 on Naxos World.
For Tri Nguyen, Duos-Alone is a deeply personal project. Composed as a musical letter of love to his late mother, the album explores Tri’s intimate thoughts on life, family, culture, the value of memories and the profound impact of maternal devotion. These private contemplations are shared through the sounds of the piano and the Vietnamese zither known as the đàn-tranh. Nguyen’s mastery of these instruments is matched by his ingenuity.
Early in the first lockdown of 2020, Tri felt the whisper of inspiration in his Paris apartment while gazing at a painting his parents had given him. With both instruments in view, notes formed in his mind. With restrictions in place, collaboration was out of the question, so Nguyen embarked on his unique musical journey. Composing and then playing each instrument’s part individually to match his imagination, he then blended both with considerable skill in the studio. The result is the aptly titled Duos-Alone. Two distinct instrumental voices harmonized by one outstanding artist.
Through Duos-Alone, Tri Nguyen opens his heart to share his hopes, worries, loneliness, and longings during the world’s most challenging time. While he bravely bares his pain, the artist captivatingly conveys his gratitude, understanding and appreciation of everything a mother can give. Overwhelmingly, there is a feeling of love.
The themes of love, memory and understanding are perhaps best explored in the album’s first single, That Bicycle Ride, which releases on 7th July 2023. Here, Tri revisits the memory of his parents eventually allowing him to ride through the streets of Saigon on his bicycle unaccompanied in reward for his efforts at school and music. Featuring patterns from Mozart’s fantasias and sonatas, one feels a palpable sense of youthful wonder, exhilaration, and freedom.
Given the album’s inspiration, there is little surprise that the listener will experience various emotions. The second single – released on 21st July 2023 – is Sigh of Sorrow. Based on Bach’s aria from The Goldberg Variations, Nguyen merges the tune with a treasure of ancient Vietnamese music – the instrumental from Nam Ai - Sadness of the South – to produce a profound piece of melancholia. Weeping Mango Leaves, the third and final single from the album releasing 4th August 2023, explores the importance of respecting tradition, remembering the departed, and how understanding one’s own culture can free you to appreciate and learn about others.
Tri Nguyen is a child of two cultures. Born in South Vietnam, he studied piano under French-trained tutors from age five. His proficiency with one of the Western musical world’s most popular instruments is balanced by his commitment to his ancestral culture. Tri is the only concert musician in the world to master both the piano and the đàn-tranh. He has performed in Vietnam, Europe, and the United States and has collaborated with eminent artists from across the globe, with his music aired worldwide.
Join Tri Nguyen for Duos-Alone, where we learn that grief may be love simply persisting and that with memories, we are never truly alone.