Tuan Ngoc’s Classics

Tu Cong Phung, Tuan Ngoc, and Duy Cuong in one album, what more could we ask for? Giot Le Cho Ngan Sau, a Tu Cong Phung’s songbook, is a timeless material that leaves no filler’s spot. Recorded in 1994, the music is as fresh and crisp as it was upon first release—thanks to Duy Cuong’s master of orchestrations. I have heard countless version of “Mat Le Cho Nguoi,” but Duy Cuong’s classical-inspired arrangement combined with Tuan Ngoc’s meticulous delivery sets it apart from the rest. The way he caresses, holds, and discharges the long lines on the title track, Tuan Ngoc’s flawless falsetto proves that he has both technique and soul, and he expresses Tu Cong Phung’s work to its fullest. This album is, without a doubt, a quintessential Vietnamese music.

Tam Su Goi Ve Dau is another classic material from Tuan Ngoc recorded in late 1990. The album featured Tuan Ngoc’s signature performances including Tu Cong Phung’s “Tren Ngon Tinh Sau,” Truong Sa’s “Roi Mai Toi Dua Em,” and Ngo Thuy Mien’s “Ao Lua Ha Dong,” which have been recovered by numerous today’s singers, but none has come closed to the musician’s musician. Again, Duy Cuong plays an important role in the production, noticeably his exhilarating piano’s ostinato on Trinh Cong Son’s “Chieu Mot Minh Qua Pho.” It is one of the most elegance arrangements I have heard for this popular piece, and Tuan Ngoc’s voice is as calm and cool as it gets. The record also gives listeners a glimpse of Duy Cuong’s scoring skills. Check out the intro and outro!

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