About this Recording
8.223956 - HE / DING / HUANG: Chinese Orchestral Works

Chinese Orchestral Works


[1] Evening Party – He Luting
Evening Party was originally a piano piece composed in 1934 under the title of New Year Celebration. In 1940, He Luting arranged it into an orchestral piece, which was broadcast to the Soviet Union and was much appreciated. Then in 1943, the composer revised it. In 1949, he arranged six of his compositions into an orchestral suite, with Evening Party as one of its six movements. Just as the title implies, the piece describes people celebrating victory jubilantly at the evening party. The whole piece can be divided into six parts, with the later three parts repeating the former three. In the third part, the composer ingeniously introduces the rhythm of Chinese folk percussion.

[2] Senjidma – He Luting
Senjidma was composed in 1945 with a Mongolian folk song of the same theme as the material. Senjidma is the name of a legendary Mongolian girl. In 1949 the composer arranged it and five other pieces, including Evening Party, into an orchestral suite. In this piece, the composer developed the original folk-tune by means of polyphony and colourful orchestration. The whole piece can be divided into two parts. The first part is slow and tranquil just like the boundless grassland. The second part is repetition of the same folk-tune. However, by accelerating the tempo and changing the orchestration, the piece creates a joyous festive atmosphere.

[3] Rebirth in the Mountains – He Luting
Rebirth in the Mountains was originally a section of the score the composer wrote for the drama, The Siege of Qinyuan, during the War of Resistance against Japan. The drama describes the people in the country town Qinyuan, who, with the help of the Eighth Route Army led by the Communist Party of China, concealed everything the enemy could eat or use and retreated into the remote mountains when faced with the invasion of the invading Japanese. The enemy entered the town, but could find nothing to live on and therefore had to withdraw from the town. Finally the people triumphantly returned to their homeland. The piece is made up of five parts which are linked into a continuous whole: 1. Mountain Scene; 2. Rebirth in the Mountains; 3. Calm Forest; 4. Guerillas and Civilians; 5. Epilogue.

[4] Flute at Night in a Desolate Village – He Luting
Flute at Night in a Desolate Village was originally a section of the composer’s film score Spring has Arrived written in 1937. The passage was composed in the form of a duet for the flute and the English horn. Later, the composer arranged it into an independent orchestral piece.

[5] Great World – He Luting
In 1937, at the invitation of the Star Film Company, the composer wrote scores for a number of films such as Spring has Arrived, Crisscross Streets and Street Angels. Later, he extracted a number of splendid sections from the scores and arranged them into independent orchestral pieces. Great World was one of them. It was originally an instrumental episode in the film Street Angels.

[6] Overture – He Luting
Composed in 1935, Overture was originally a prelude to the drama Wu Zetian. The overture took the form of a quintet for piano and strings, and was entitled Buddhist Music. The composer drew material from Buddhist music, Mu Lian Rescuing Mother, for the overture. This is based on the fact that Wu Zetian, the famous empress of the Tang Dynasty, had been a Buddhist nun before she mounted the throne. Later, the quintet was arranged into an orchestral piece with the title of Overture.

[7] Variations on a Chinese Folk Theme – Ding Shande
Variations on a Chinese Folk Theme was originally a piano piece of the same title composed in the spring of 1948, when Ding Shande was studying at the Paris Conservatoire. The theme came from the music score of a Tibetan folk-song his friend had given him as a present before the composer went abroad. The whole composition is made up of the Tibetan theme and its five variations. It is China’s first set of piano variations on a folk theme. Sometimes the music sounds as graceful as a poem, and sometimes as colourful as a picture it conveys the composer’s nostalgia for his motherland during his stay in France. Later, the composer orchestrated it.

[8] Variations on a Xinjiang Folk Tune – Ding Shande
Variations on a Xinjiang Folk Tune is variations on a lively folk-song widely popular in Xinjiang as its theme. In the form of free variation, the piece is made up of a theme and its five variations.

[9] First Xinjiang Dance – Ding Shande
First Xinjiang Dance was originally a piano solo composed in 1950. The musical material was taken from the music of a Xinjiang dance performed by Dai Ailian, a renowned dancer. The composition consists of three parts. The first part is a cheerful and lively dance, the middle part sounds a deeper note, while the closing part is a recapitulation of the first part with some modifications. This piece is an excellent example of the combination of the Chinese folk-tune with occidental harmony. It was later orchestrated by the composer.

[10] Second Xinjiang Dance Ding – Shande & Zhilichyev
Second Xinjiang Dance was originally a piano piece, composed in 1955. Ding Shande has great interest in Xinjiang folk-songs and has repeatedly drawn materials from them for his various forms of compositions. The music is exquisitely lyrical and unrestrainedly ardent. By combining a variety of chords, modality and tonality, it expresses the Xinjiang people’s happy life, full of song and dance. The Soviet conductor, Zhilichyev, who was giving lectures in China from 1957 to 1958, showed such interest in the piece that he orchestrated it.

[11] In Memoriam – Huang Zi
The single-movement overture In Memoriam, in sonata form, was Huang Zi’s graduation piece when he finished his studies at the Music School of Yale University. It is also China’s very first grand symphonic orchestral work, winning international acclaim in the history of Chinese music. The piece was finished on 13th March, 1929, and was successfully premiered at the graduation concert of Yale University on 31st May of the same year. Huang Zi composed In Memoriam in commemoration of Hu Yongfu, his friend. The music is imbued with a strong romantic flavour and a touching tragic colour.

[12] Metropolitan Scene Fantasia Huang Zi
Metropolitan Scene Fantasia was originally composed by Huang Zi as the title score of a progressive film, Metropolitan Scene, which was co-scored by Huang Zi, Zhao Yuanren and He Luting in 1935. This fantasia reflected the composer’s democratic spirit and his sense of national justice. In addition, the composer made some exploration of orchestral technique.

Shen Yongshui

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