About this Recording
82026 - QU: General's Command / XIAN: Yellow River Yangqin Concerto

[1] "The Yellow River" Yangqin Concerto
The Yellow River was originally a cantata by Xian Xinghai and others, later transcribed as a piano concerto and now as a concerto for yangqin, the Chinese zither. The piece is in four sections.

(i) The Song of the Yellow River Boatmen

The music depicts the power and grandeur of the scene, as the boatmen struggle against the terrifying waves.

(ii) Ode to the Yellow River

The second movement returns to the ancient history of the river and of the people who have lived and worked by its banks and of their love for their home.

(iii) The Yellow River in Wrath

After an introduction in Shanbei style played by the zhudi, the Chinese flute, the music moves on to a passage of greater profundity, showing the determination of the people to fight against their enemies.

(iv) Defending the Yellow River

After a fanfare introduction, the theme of defending the Yellow River appears. The orchestra and soloist alternate, with a gradual increase in feeling and tension. Towards the end the main melody of Sing out, Yellow River is used, showing the determination of the people to defend their country. The main theme appears again and brings the piece to a powerful conclusion.

[2] The General's Command
The General's Command is in four sections. The first of these, in free rhythm, uses drums and gongs to depict the situation. A slower section follows, where the commanders pitch camp, with music that is steady and solemn. In a quicker section the soldiers set out for battle, the subject of the final section, in which there is an increase of speed, excitement and strength. The climax of the work illustrates the scene as thousands of soldiers and horsemen rush forward into battle.

[3] The Red Rhododendron
The Red Rhododendron is adapted from the main theme of the film Flickering Stars, a melody that is both graceful and solemnly stirring. The music depicts the hope of the people for the day when the mountains will glow red, covered with red flowers.

[4] Tanci San Liu
Tanci San Liu is a lyric narrative, accompanied by stringed instruments, a Jiangnan folk-piece known as San Liu (Three Six). The melody is flowing and graceful, with a lively rhythm in a bright yet profound style.

[5] Tujia Hand-Waving Dance
The Hand-waving Dance is adapted from a Tujia folk-tune, with the rhythmic characteristics of the dance of the title. The music shows the Tujia people's love of song and dance and their love of life.

[6] Happy Xinjiang
Happy Xinjiang uses the triple dance rhythm of the region, demonstrating the people's love of singing and dancing and their strongly passionate character.

[7] Glimpses of Shenzhen
Glimpses of Shenzhen makes use of Cantonese musical material in which one performer plays the yangqin and drums. By using quick percussive strokes and a variety of chords the music gives an impression of the town, with its young and lively people.

[8] Tian Shan in Festival
Tian Shan, Heaven Mountain, in Festival shows a happy holiday, as the people of Xinjiang sing and dance in celebration.

[9] Lin Chong Running at Night
The story of Lin Chong running at night is taken from the classical Chinese legend of Shuihu, with music from the Kun opera of the same name, including the melodies New Water Season and The Wild Goose Falls. The music depicts the heroism of Lin Chong, running to Liang Shan. The five sections start with an Introduction followed by Indignation, Running at Night, Storm and Snow and Up to the Mountain. The yangqin uses the technique of double-stopping with a stick adapted for the purpose, glissando and vibrato. The musical texture is polyphonic, with new techniques that mark a departure for the instrument.

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