About this Recording
82076 - QU: Fantasia of the Red Guards on the Hong Lake

The Legend of the Yellow Crane

Shi Yongkang

The Legend of the Yellow Crane by Shi Yongkang is a symphonic poem based on the legend of the title. Old Ma, a kind-hearted folk-musician, had always brought happiness to people through his flute-playing. One day, as he was about to leave for a journey, he drew a picture of a yellow crane on the wall, as a souvenir, and sang:

Yellow crane, dance. Never go to the lord’s house,

To the sound of my flute. Always dance for the people.

After Old Ma left, the yellow crane came down from the wall. The people were very excited and sang together.

Old Ma is kind to us. The crane he drew is wonderful.

Ah, yellow crane, dance for us!

The yellow crane really danced and everyone was delighted. Suddenly the lord and master rushed in and took the bird away to his house, but the yellow crane refused to dance for him. From the distance came the sound of Old Ma's flute, calling on the crane to escape from the cage and return to the people.

In the fresh and graceful Jiangnan style of the southern reaches of the Yangtze River, and with skillful orchestration, the symphonic poem depicts the yellow crane and the legend. The symphonic poem was composed in 1955 and was first performed in Beijing the following year. The work was awarded a bronze medal in 1957 at the Sixth World Youth Festival and the score was published by the Shanghai Music Publishing House. The Legend of the Yellow Crane has enjoyed wide popularity.

Gada Melin

Xin Huguang

Gada Melin was a Mongolian national hero of the early twentieth century, living in the east of Inner Mongolia. He led his people in a revolt against the feudal nobility and warlords in north-east China, finally to be killed in battle by the Liao River. His memory is honoured by the people of Mongolia.

The symphonic poem Gada Melin was written in 1956. Using folk-songs and ballads extolling Gada Melin, the work offers a portrait of the national hero. Composed in pure Mongolian style, the symphonic poem expresses the martial spirit, patriotism and heroism of Gada Melin, while at the same time revealing the beauty of the far-extending grassland of the region.

Hong Niangzi

Qu Wei and Wang Jiufang

Hong Niangzi was a legendary heroine of title late Ming dynasty, who led the people in an attack on the regional capital of rescue her lover Li Xin from prison. Together with him, she joined the peasant rebellion led by Li Zicheng.

The symphonic poem brings together Beijing opera set tunes such as Jiangjun Ling and Nazha Ling with various elements of folk-music, combining the Chinese bamboo flute and Chinese percussion instruments such as the dagu (large barrel-drum) and tangluo (gong) with the Western orchestra. The music depicts the night raid, the siege of the city and the final victory and shows the heroism and feminine tenderness of Hong Niangzi.

Fantasia of the Red Guard on the Hong Lake

Qu Wei

Fantasia of the Red Guard on the Hong Lake is derived from the opera of the same name. That work depicts the conflict between title Communist-led Red Guards on the Hong Lake in Hubei Province and the armed forces of the landlords. The fantasia makes use of extracts from the opera such as the overture, the waves of Hong Lake and the song of title Red Guards and generally follows the plot of the original work, conveying the spirit of martial enthusiasm and feeling of momentous historical change.

Shi Yongkang

Shi Yongkand was born in 1929 in Zhenhai, Zhejiang, and from 1950 to 1955 studied at tIle Shanghai Conservatory of Music, subsequently joining the teaching staff there. In 1983 he was appointed vice-president of the Xian Xinghai Conservatory. His compositions cover a wide range, including symphonies, chamber music and music for dance. The symphonic poem The Legend of the Yellow Crane, Symphony No. 1 and Dawn in the East, the horn concerto Memory and his String Quartet No. 1 are characteristic examples of his works.

Xin Huguang

Born in 1933 in Wanzai, Jiangxi, Xin Huguang completed her studies at the Central Conservatory in Beijing in 1956, going on to work as a composer with the Inner Mongolia Song and Dance Troupe. She was later transferred to a teaching post at the Inner Mongolia School of Arts. Her period in Inner Mongolia enabled her to collect a considerable quantity of folk-music from the region. Gada Melin was written as her graduation composition when she was 23. Other important works include the orchestral suite Grassland and a concerto for the typical Mongolian horse-head fiddle.


Qu Wei was born in 1917 in Changzhou, Jiangsu, and entered the Shanghai Xinhua School of Arts in 1933, studying music and fine arts. From 1940 to 1945 he worked as a teacher in the Music Department of the Yanan Lu Xun School of Arts and was subsequently Dean of the Music Department of the Northeast China Lu Xun School of Arts and a composer of film scores. From 1955 to 1959 he studied in the Composition Department of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, returning to China to work as a composer with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. His best known works include the opera The White-Haired Girl, in collaboration with Ma Ke, Zhang Lu and others, and a suite derived from it, and the symphonic poems Monument to the People’s Heroes and the present Fantasia of the Red Guards on the Hong Lake.

Wang Jiufang

Born in Hanjiang, Jiangsu, in 1937, Wang Jiufang entered the High School of the Shanghai Conservatory in 1953, proceeding in 1956 to the Conservatory itself, where he has subsequently served as a member of the teaching staff. His most characteristic works include the cantata Happiness River, in collaboration with Xiao Bai, Wang Jiufang and Zhang Yingmin, which won the first cantata prize at the Seventh World Youth Festival in 1959.

Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra

The Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the best known such organizations in China. It was established in 1962 as the East China Music Troupe, directed by the well-known composer He Luting, who was followed by Huang Yijun and Situ Han. The present artistic director is the well-known conductor Cao Peng. In the past forty years the orchestra has given more than three thousand concerts, often in collaboration with leading international performers. The Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra frequently appears in broadcasts and television performances, and in film and recording studios.

Cao Peng

Cao Peng is one of the most distinguished conductors in China. He was born in Jiangyin, Jiangsu, in 1925, and in 1946 entered the Arts Department of Shandong University. In 1950 he became principal conductor of both the Shanghai Film Studio Orchestra and the Beijing Film Studio Orchestra and in 1955 went to Moscow, where he studied at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory Ginsburg. After his return in 1961 he became resident conductor of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and is now artistic director and principal conductor of the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, and music adviser and resident conductor of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, as well as serving as music director and principal conductor of the Shanghai Chamber Orchestra.

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