The Legend of Shadi-er
Shadi-er was a member of the Weiwuer people of Xinjiang during the Qing
dynasty (A.D. 1644-1911). Although illiterate, he was an excellent composer
and singer of folk-song, using this art as a weapon against the Qing government.
His popularity in Xinjiang aroused the fears of the central government and he
was eventually killed, although his death did nothing to diminish his popularity.
His songs are still current today.
Fishermen's Song of Lake Shenyang
Fishermen's Song of Lake Shenyang expresses joy at a good catch and the
beauty of the scene, as hundreds of junks are seen in the red glow of dawn.
Borrowing material from the folk-music of Anhui Province, the composer attempts
to depict here a festival market. The form of the music resembles an intermezzo
or overture in a traditional opera. It begins with the sound of the suona (Chinese
oboe), imitating the laughter of the people. Most of the instruments used are
of high pitch, including the dizi (Chinese flute), sheng (Chinese mouth-organ),
erhu and gaohu (Chinese two-string fiddles), with the obligatory percussion
that adds to the folk character of the music.
Movements in Jiangsi style
Spring expresses the innocence of human nature, resilient rhythmic patterns
emerging from less well defined surroundings. There is a central romance, followed
by the reappearance of the lively opening theme.
The slow movement is tragic and desolate in mood, questioning, as it reaches
its climax, the meaning of life and fate, and ending with open chords.
Parting is a solemn melody, which appears in the strings, without vibrato.
An erhu melody shows the parting of a mother and her son and the theme is repeated
by the zhonghu (Chinese bowed instrument of middle range), hoarsely expressive
of the Moon on Erquan
from the original composition by Hua Yanhun)
a piece for solo erhu, Reflection of the Moon on Erquan, depicts the hardships
and misery of the blind musician's life. Erquan, which means the second best
water-spring in China, is found in the composer's home-town, Wuxi.