|About this Recording
8.225838 - CHINESE EVERGREENS (Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Kenneth Jean)
The period between the 1930s and 50s saw the flourishing of several new composers and lyricists in China. Their music, reflecting the art and traditional folk songs of China, was to win wide audiences all over China and even overseas. Chinese Evergreens is a compilation of popular songs selected from this period. The songs, originally in Mandarin, have been arranged into purely orchestral pieces. They retain the spirit, style and evocativeness of the original works, while giving them a universal appeal and relevance to the present time.
Plum Blossoms in the Snow
The catchy, easy to remember melodies of Huang Zi made Plum Blossoms in the Snow ideal school-song material, and it is still popular in schools today. The song describes the beauty of plum blossoms in the snowy wastes of the countryside and the pleasure it gives to see them as a donkey trots and a bell tinkles.
Evening Bells from Namping
Chimes ring out like bells to introduce a haunting main theme played by the oboe. This song was very popular for its evocation of the calm and beauty of the Chinese countryside.
Flowers Are Not Flowers
Lamenting the transient nature of life, the lyricist wrote in 1933:
Flowers are not flowers, mist not mist
An age-old human regret is the ceaseless change life brings, along with the disappearance of things and people once dear. The mood of this song is a soft, nostalgic sigh reflecting man’s universal regret at time’s merciless onslaught.
A Touch on the Crimson Lips
This song takes its theme from a piece of descriptive prose entitled Climbing a Chamber whose words admonish
Spring time surpasses mere enjoyment
A song reflecting the more romantic side of peaceful village life.
Night breezes blow as the sun’s rays retreat
Over the Jialing River
This is a mourning song set during the Second World War and describes a man’s sorrow and dreams of revenge as he remembers how the Japanese razed his village, killing his family and cattle.
Alone I follow the shore of the Jialing River
The River All Red
An epic song of great majesty, the original lyrics of this song were written by Yue Fei, a famous hero of the Sung Dynasty. The song relates how Yue Fei, as General of the Sung Emperor’s army, led a campaign against the Emperor’s enemies, the Kam tribes from the North. The Sung Army was victorious in the initial stages of the campaign, but was ultimately defeated because of Yue Fei’s betrayal by the Sung Emperor’s own Chancellor. The heroic spirit of Yue Fei and his army is honoured and reflected in the vigorous energy of this song.
I Live on the Shore of Yangtze River
This is a beautiful love song that tells the story of a lady living on the shore of the Yangtze River. She went out each day in the hope of meeting her lover who lived down the river, but her wait was long, and all she could do was ask the ceaselessly flowing waters when the longed-for encounter would be granted.
The Quest evokes the mood of youth’s fervent optimism.
You (my hopes) are like the distant clouds gliding through the sky
Lipid Eyes of a Fair Lady
This was one of the most popular songs of the 50s. Its sweetly melancholic tune and lyrics describe a man’s longing for his lover. She has deserted him and his daughter, never to return. The father and daughter comfort each other through their despair.
Thoughts in Spring
This is a song of a wanderer who finds himself in an unfamiliar place. The music evokes the mood of the original lyrics:
The night rain drips on the staircase
This was a popular song expressing the thoughts and feelings of an orphan child.
Everybody has a father, why don’t I?
Close the window