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82031 - CHEN / HE: Butterfly Lovers Concerto / ZHANG / ZHU: Parting of the Newly Wedded
The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto
He Zhanhao & Chen Gang
The narrative, derived from Chinese folk-lore, tells the story of the lovers Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai. The two had been studying together, with Zhu Yingtai disguised as a boy, her identity unknown to her friend Liang Shanbo. Their period of study together and friendship is a happy one, which comes to an end when Zhu Yingtai is compelled to return home, and the couple part at a pavilion, eighteen miles from the city. This forms the exposition of a tripartite sonata-form movement.
In the central section, the formal development, Zhu Yingtai now defies her father, who has arranged a marriage for her. Liang Shanbo decides to visit Zhu Yingtai and only now finds out that she is a girl and about to be married. There is a tender duet between violin and cello, now Liang Shanbo realises the nature of his affection for his former companion. Liang Shanbo dies, the victim of despair, and Zhu Yingtai, on the way to her wedding, stops at her lover's tomb and leaps into it. The tomb bursts open and at the sound of the gong the music reaches a climax.
In the final section of the concerto, the recapitulation, the love theme re-appears and Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai emerge from the tomb as a pair of butterflies, flying together, never more to be parted.
Love in Spring
Parting of the Newly Wedded
Parting of the Newly Wedded is in three sections. The first of these, The Wedding, is based on a work by a well known Song Dynasty poet. The graceful melody depicts the shy gesture of a girl waiting to be wed, followed by the loud sound of wedding gong and drum. The dialogue between violin and cello, with the glockenspiel, shows the deep love and gentle feelings of the couple, the beauty of the nuptial chamber. The second part, Surprised by the Change, is introduced by an ominous drum roll, the Chinese operatic "reckless bear' combined with the free melody of the solo violin, serene harmony totally disturbed. There is strong dramatic conflict, as officers come to seize the bridegroom and take him away to join the army. The bride weeps, as they part, beating her breast and stamping her feet. The "rapid beat slow singing" of opera shows the vulnerability of the characters. In the third part, Farewell, the principal theme re-appears, slow and heavy. The weeping melody represents the helpless sighs of the bride, now her husband is going to his death. The rapid cadenza speaks of the girl's indignation, and in conclusion the orchestra plays sad and grieving music, representing the great tragedy that has taken place.
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