About this Recording
82101 - WANG, Y.: Pixiu Dance
English 

Sketches of The Three Gorges

Like sketches in light colours, this symphonic tone poem portrays the magnificent elegant sights of the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River 5 and extols the beauty of the land of the motherland.

The tone poem consists of six movements.

Movement 1 Leaving Baldicheng in Rosy Dawn

The stars are twinkling in the utter still before dawn. Thesllhouette of Baldicheng (White Emperor City) is dimly discernible. Against the background of the drone on the strings, the English horn plays a lyric elegant slow theme. Then the tranquil mild theme is repeated and developed on the violin.

Movement 2 in the Gorges

This movement forms a sharp contrast with the previous one. The music begins with the brass winds. Their relatively strong sound is like the sudden appearance of the magnificent steep precipices and cliffs. The theme of this movement is derived from that of the first movement. It is played successively on the flute, the violin and the cello. Finally the English horn recapitulates the intact theme of the first movement.

Movement 3 The Goddess in a White Cloud Belt

The music describes the dignity, gracefulness, slenderness and obscurity of the Goddess Peak, which is enshrouded with mist and covered with azaleas. In the middle part a new theme, drifting, pleased and affectionate, is played on the violin. It seems as if the composer were sitting on a boat sailing in the waves and expressing his love for the rivers of the motherland.

The above three movements can be considered as the first half of the suite, in which the theme of the first movement runs through the second and third movements, transforming.

Movement 4 Wang Zhaojun's Native Place -- the Tranquil Fragrant Brook

The music begins with the expansive theme of the “boat” on the horn. Then, as the uniform accompaniment figure of the second half movement, the strings bow out the very fluent theme of the 'water' formed of a cluster of semiquavers. The two imagic themes alternately appear in the different parts of the strings, which sound like a boat sailing slowly on the undulant water of the brook. They portray the charming view of the Fragrant Brook, a tributary of the Yangtze River, which flows past the native place of Wang Zhaojun, one of the four legendary beauties in ancient China.

Movement 5 Orange Orchards on the Precipices

On the precipices along the Three Gorges are seen spots of flaming red against dark green. These are the orange orchards which the hard-working Chinese cultivate. To the accompaniment of “water”, the bright theme in major mode is full of joy.

Movement 6 Light Boats Passing by Numerous Mountains

The audience will feel as if they were standing on top of a steeppeak watching at a distance light junks going downstream out of the Three Gorges. The fragments of the themes of the previous movement is imaginatively flicker in the movement it seems that the magnificent scenery of the Three Gorges still remain in mind unforgettably. In orchestration, various Instruments successively retreat from performance except the solo of the violin, which finally comes to an end on a seventh chord against the harmonics of the strings and the pizzicato of the double bass. The lingering music affords the audience much food for reflection.

This suite won the Good Composition Prize at the First All-China Symphonic Composition Appraisal.

Pixiu Dance

Pixiu Dance was composed in 1954 for the World Youth Festival which was held in Warsaw, Poland. Like the kylin (unicorn) and the phoenix, the pixiu is an imaginary bearlike wild animal in the Chinese mythology. It is said to be able to drive out evil spirits for people and bring happiness to people. In the coastal regions in southeast China, people like to perform on folk festivals the pixiu dance as well as the lion dance. Composed by Wang Yiping in 1954, Pixiu Dance describes the scene of the villagers despatching the pixiu dance team on Spring Festival to the neighbouring villages to convey congratulations for the festival. At the beginning the music is weak in volume and broken in rhythm. The muffled percussion, the specific sound of the beating on the drum edge and the intermittent blowing on the flute make the music sound like a team of pixiu dancers coming up from the distant low bank of earth between the fields, with their beating of the gongs and the drums heard on and off with the changing direction of the wind. Then the music depicts the dancers dancing into the village and then leaving It after finishing the dance. The piece is fundamentally in five-four time, with the accents at the second half of the second beat Hand the fifth beat of each measure. The organic combination of various Chinese percussion sets with the western orchestra makes the music in a strong national style. The first theme in five-four time is based on Yellow Rape Flowers, a folk tune popular in Guizhou, with the application of some grace notes. The second theme is blown on the brass with the treatment of various transformations. In the coda, the two themes are interwoven contrapuntally, which makes the music somewhat sentimental as if the dancers were reluctant to part with the villagers.

Dinosaur

In 1940, large numbers of dinosaurian fossils were excavated in Lufeng County, Yunnan province. Inspired by the helpless extinction of the huge monster, the composer wrote a piano piece and dedicated it to Mrs. Martha Guo, who had encouraged the composition During the Cultural Revolution (1966- 1976), all the manuscripts, including the one of Dinosaur were burned up in the political housing search. In the beginning, beyond all the composer's expectation, Mrs. Florence, a friend of the composer, mailed him from U.S a copy of the manuscript of the piano piece. It was on the basis of this manuscript that the astonished composer wrote the present orchestral as an expression of gratitude to the friend who had carefully preserved the manuscript for so long.

The first half of the piece is a depiction of the slow and heavy steps of the dinosaur, while the second half describes the prehistoric beast which submerged its monstrous body

In the water of the lake only with its head above the surface of the water and silently peeped at the desolate world However, It finally went into helpless extinction.

Chinese Children's Toys Suite

Chinese Children's Toys Suite was composed in 1977, International Children's Year sponsored by the United Nations, for the Students' Orchestra of the Attached High School of Wuhan Conservatory of Music as a dedicatory work to all children. The suite is made up of four parts, with each one describing an ancient Chinese children's toy.

Part 1 Shuttlecock

The Chinese shuttlecock is made with several round pieces of cardboard overlapped together as the base, in the centre of which is fixed vertically a thick plume tube. Into the tube are inserted several thinner plumes. The player repeatedly kicks it vertically into the arias a game. It can be played with by a single child as well as by several children as a match.

Part 2 Dlabolo

The Dlabolo is actually a T -shaped top of wood or bamboo. An upright column is fixed in the centre of the hollow flat round base, in the ring like side of which several slots are opened. The player places the thin waist of the dlabolo column on a thin string, which is stretched between the tips of two sticks about a foot long. The player rhythmically swinging the two sticks alternately up and down, the dlabolo is spun by the friction between the dlabolo and the string. With the dlabolo revolving faster and faster, a buzzing sound comes out from the slots on its side. Sometimes the player will stretch his arms and draw the string tight, tossing the dlabolo into the air. When it falls back down, He will catch it with the string and go on playing. This game has been developed into a well- known item of the Chinese acrobatic repertoire.

Part 3 Kite

Riding the wind, the kite rises into the sky and flutters there leisurely and carefree.

Part 4 Cloth Tiger

The cloth tiger is made of cloth and padded in its body with materials such as cotton. On its skin are drawn red and black symbolic streaks. This toy is still on sale in Beijing shops. Charming and pleasing, the cloth tiger can be played with as a toy as well as be collected as a piece of handicraft. The music describes the psychological mood and imagination of the children when playing It. Sometimes they feel the cloth tiger comes alive, sometimes they feel it goes to sleep calmly.

Meditation

Composed in October 1994, Meditation is a tranquil and implicit piece, which is formed of various repetitions on a single theme with different Instrumentations.

WANG YIPING

Wang Yiping, a Chinese composer, was born in Guangzhou in 1919. He began to study musical composition even when he was at a high school. Later he studied musical composition by correspondence under Noel Gron, a professor at Paris Conservatory. From 21, he successively held the posts as a director at Music Department of Guangxl Provincial Art Centre, a teacher of composition at Chongqing State Opera School and a musician at the Experimental Orchestra of the National Music Centre, and an associate professor of musical composition at Guangdong Provincial School of Art. Since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, he has successively worked as an associate professor and professor at South China People's Institute of Arts and Literature, the Middle and South China School of Music, Hubei Institute of Arts, and Wuhan Conservatory of Music. He is expert in the composition of orchestral pieces. His important works include film score for grand documentary Long Live Our Nation, and orchestral pieces Pixiu Dance, Sketches of the Three Gorges and Chinese Folk Toys for Children. His Sketches of the Three Gorges once won the Good Composition Prize at the First All-China Symphonic Composition Appraisal. His compositions are well knit in structure, beautiful in melody and exquisite in orchestration.

SHANGHAI PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Shanghai Philharmonic is one of the most famous organizations of musical performance in China. It was established in 1952, known as the East China Music Troupe. The first

Director was He Luting, a famous composer. Then the conductors Huang Yuijian and Situ Han succeeded him. The present art director is the well-known conductor Cao Peng.

In the past 40 years, Shanghai Philharmonic has performed over 3,000 concerts, including special concerts for Individual composers and musicians, and collaborated with vocalists from all over the world. Apart from giving concerts, Shanghai Philharmonic often makes recordings for radio stations, TV stations, film studios, as well as for record factories and audio and video companies for world-wide release.

CAO PENG

Cao Peng is one of the most distinguished conductors in China. He was born in Jiangyin, Ji angsu in 1925. In 1946, he was enrolled at the Arts Department of Shandong University. In 1950 he was principal conductor of both Shanghai Film Studio Orchestra and Beijing Film Studio Orchestra. In 1955, he went to the USSR and entered the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Music to study under the celebrated conductor, Professor Leo Ginsbury. Cao was appointed resident conductor of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra after his return In 1961. He is now art director & principal conductor of Shanghai Philharmonic, art director of Marco Polo Symphony Orchestra, music advisor and resident conductor of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Music director & principal conductor of Shanghai Chamber Orchestra.


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