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8.225851 - WANG, Jianzhong: Piano Music and Arrangements (Popular Chinese Piano Pieces) (Sheung Tsz Ma)
Popular Chinese Piano Music – Piano Music by Wang Jianzhong
Beautiful Clouds Following the Moon
Beautiful Clouds Following the Moon is one of those landscape pieces, conjuring up, by its texture, the scudding clouds, and the light of the moon. The melody is a well-known one, when it emerges after a brief introduction.
Birds Pay Tribute to the Phoenix
The Chinese phoenix is a very different bird from the creature of Western mythology. Its two heads represents male and female and it is a symbol of the Empress. It is also a bird of good omen, settling only where treasure lies. The piece Birds pay Tribute to the Phoenix is adapted from music for the Chinese oboe, a strong-toned reed instrument. The melody that opens the music is typical in its five-note scale outline. A stronger melodic fragment is followed by the twittering of the birds, as they fly, bearing tribute to their Empress.
Plum Blossom Melody
Plum Blossom Melody is a very familiar piece in China. Around this Wang Jianzhong weaves a web of sound, reminiscent of other Chinese instruments, rather than the piano. We seem to hear at times the guzheng, and at times the pipa, the Chinese zither and Chinese lute.
Butterflies and Flowers
Butterflies and Flowers again brings the echoes of other instruments, particularly in its introduction. The treatment of a traditional type of melody is elaborate and expressive.
Five Yunnan Folk Songs: Girls of Ta Li • Following a Lover • Solving Riddles • Song of the Mountains • Dragon Lantern Song
Yunnan is a province in the extreme South West of China. It is characterised by scenery of great grandeur. The set of five folksongs opens with Girls of Ta Li, a winsome melody that is delicately repeated at a higher level. Following a Lover is the second piece, and here the left hand follows the right, in imitation of the theme of the song. Solving Riddles is a livelier piece of music. It opens and closes with an air of hesitancy. No picture of Yunnan would be complete without reference to its mountains. Here something of the sweeping majesty of nature can be perceived. The set of Yunnan folksongs ends with an evocation of those dragon lanterns that are such a feature of the Mid-Autumn Festival of Lanterns. It makes an energetic conclusion.
Golden Embroidery is taken from a set of four Shanbei folksongs which form the basis of Wang Jianzhong’s compositions. Golden Embroidery takes its mood from the title. There is much delicate tracery, as higher notes embellish the essentially simple folk-theme that is at the heart of the music.
Like Golden Embroidery, Lover’s Words is taken from a set of four Shanbei folksongs. It describes the turning of a lover, as he speaks words of love to his beloved. This piece varies in speed and mood, as it goes from its first lively notes to a serener mood, and then a much more energetic conclusion.
Liu Yang River
Chinese music is often used to give a picture of the landscape, usually idealised, as it might be in a classical scroll painting. Liu Yang River uses its cascading notes to represent the movement of water, against the calmer movement of the song melodies.
Song of the Great Road
Song of the Great Road is a patriotic piece. The highway in question is a metaphorical one, taken, it is suggested, by the people as they march forward together. There is, indeed, something of a march in the quiet opening chords. The music ranges from the quietest possible sound to the loudest, ending with a great and triumphant chord after a particularly subdued passage.
The word Toccata suggests European music, particularly, perhaps, that of J. S. Bach. Something of the arrangement of notes may follow a Western model, but the spirit of the music is Chinese, with its constant outline of the Chinese pentatonic scale. In spite of its title and appearance, Toccata is very much in the vein of Wang Jianzhong’s other music.
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