The Legend of the Yellow Crane
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.
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.
crane, dance for us!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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
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 is one of the most distinguished conductors in China. He was
born in Jiangyin,
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.