Of greatest interest on this disc is Out of Peking Operaby Tan Dun, a 17-minute work for violin leavened with traditional Chinese instruments. To quote the composer: “The first three bars of this piece are a direct quotation from the ‘jing hu’ fiddling tradition of Peking Opera. This is the seed of the work as it unfolds, becomes increasingly abstract, increasingly expressionistic, and develops power, beauty, and longing.”

He also comments on the dilemma facing all 20th-century composers, that of serialism. As he says: “I wrote Out of Peking Operawith ambivalence by confronting serialism, being attracted to it yet doubting that it was the...