About this Recording
82082 - HE: Buffalo Boy's Bamboo Flute
English 

A prominent Chinese composer and musical educationist, He Luting was born into a farming family in Shaoyang, Hunan, in 1903. After graduation from high school he began to work as a teacher at a primary school. In 1924 he entered the Art Department of Yue Yun School, Changsha, to study piano, violin, Chinese instruments and musical theory. He took part in the Northern Expedition and the uprisings in Guangzhou and Haifeng. In 1930 he took a post as a teacher of music at a primary school in Shanghai. In 1931 he entered the Shanghai School of Music, studying composition with Huang Zi and piano with Zakharov. In 1934 his piano pieces Buffalo Boy’s littleflute and Lullaby respectively won the first prize and the second honorary prize respectively at the Chinese Style Piano Compositions sponsored by Alexander Tcherepnin. Thereafter, with songs and music, he scored a series of films, including Crossroads and Street Angels, the songs in which, such as In Spring and Roving Girl Singer. During the War of Resistance against Japan he composed songs such as Song of Guerrillas, Ploughing Spring Earth and On the Jialing River, which were widely popular. In 1943 he made preparations for the establishment of the Central Orchestra in Yenan. After the War of Resistance against Japan, he continued his career of musical education and composition. Choral Prelude of a New century, the yangge opera Liu Deshun Rejoining His Unit, orchestral pieces Senjidma and Evening Party were his compositions during this period. After the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, he filled successively the posts of director of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, vice-chairman of the China Musicians’ Association and honorary chairman of the Association. He was mainly engaged in the training of music specialists. In the meantime he continued composing and wrote various vocal works including Long Live the People’s Leader, Heroic May, Reservoir by the Ming Tombs and Pastorale, and scored a number of films. The list of his compositions includes three cantatas, 24 choruses, nearly a hundred songs, six piano pieces, six orchestral pieces, more than ten film scores and several yangge operas and instrumental solos. Besides, he has also published Selected Musical Theses of He Luting. The nine orchestral pieces here included are all arrangements from He Luting’s songs or instrumentals. The arrangers have enriched the expressive power of the originals, giving the audience a completely new artistic experience and a fuller understanding of the works.

ROVING GIRL SINGER

Roving Girl Singer was originally a song in the film Street Angels. The song was arranged by He Luting in 1937 from a South Jiangsu folk-song Intimate Guest. Sung by the “golden voice singer” Zhou Xuan in the film, the song soon became widely known after the showing of the film. It is in folk-style. Rich in Jiangsu flavour, the song describes the delicacy, charm and sincere affection of a girl.

EVENING PARTY

Evening Party was originally a piano piece composed in 1934 with the title New Year celebration. In 1940 the composer arranged it for orchestra, and this was broadcast to the Soviet Union to save acclaim. It was revised in 1943 and in 1949 the composer arranged six of his compositions into an orchestral suite, with Evening Party as one of its six movements. Just as the title implies, the piece describes people celebrating victory at the evening party. The whole piece can be divided into six parts, with the latter three parts repeating the first three ones. In the third part, the composer ingeniously introduces 1he rhythm of Chinese folk percussion, to emphasize the joy of the occasion.

ON THE JIALING RIVER

On the Jialing River was originally a mezzo-soprano solo which He Luting composed in 1939 with a poem of the same title by Duanmu Hongliang as the text. Written in the first person, the song expresses the mood of a refugee from northeast China during the War of Resistance against Japan. The song consist two sections. The first section is the heroine’s reminiscence of the past. Because of the Japanese aggression of northeast China, she lost all her farm, her house, family and cattle, and had to tramp along the Jialing River, a branch of Yangtze River flowing through Sichuan Province, without joy or hope. In the second section, grief has given way to indignation. The music expresses the heroine’s determination to recover her enemy’s bullets and bayonets.

LULLABY

Lullaby was originally composed in 1934 as a piano solo in ternary form. The first part depicts a mother humming the lullaby by the cradle of her baby for him to go to sleep. The simple graceful melody has a feeling of warmth. In the second part, the baby seems to be disturbed by the rain and wind outside the window. The third part is the recapitulation of the first part. It vividly describes the scene of the baby falling calmly to sleep. In 1934, when He Luting was studying at the Shanghai School of Music, this piano solo won second prize in the licitation for Chinese Style Piano Compositions sponsored by the Russian composer Alexander Tcherepnin. Later the composer arranged it as a cello solo.

SONG OF GUERRILLAS

Song of Guerrillas was written in 1937, when the composer was on a tour for anti-Japanese propaganda as a member of the National Salvation Theatrical Team of Shanghai Cultural Circles. At the end of tour, the Team arrived at Linfen, Shanxi. In the local Eighth Route Army agency, He Luting composed the song, which he inscribed to all the officers and men of the Eighth Route Army. Later, at an evening party of high-ranking officers at the general headquarters of the Army, the song was first performed, soon to become generally popular. With sharp and vivid musical imagery, fluent melody, and words easy to understand, the song in the style of a march depicts the guerrillas, who retained high morale and confidence in victory under war conditions. Since its appearance nearly half a century ago, it has maintained wide popularity among people at home and abroad.

SONG OF FOUR SEASONS

Song of Four Seasons was originally a song in the film Street Angels. The song was arranged by He Luting in 1937 from a South Jiangsu folk-song. Sung by the “golden voice singer” Zhou Xuan in the film, the song soon became widely known after the showing of the film. Though the melody is tender and rich in Jiangsu flavour, it contains a harsh subject. With the change of the scenes of different seasons serving as contrast, the song tells of the sorrowful experiences of a young girl. As a result of the Japanese invasion, the young girl had to roam from the north to the south. Her homeland, the parents and the sweetheart, who was fighting in the battlefield against the invaders, time and again brought feelings of nostalgia.

BUFFALO BOY’S LITTLE FLUTE

The Buffalo Boy’s Little Flute was originally composed in 1934 as a piano solo in ternary form. The first part sounds like a simple and elegant Chinese water-colour painting. It pictures a boy on the back of a buffalo carefree and playing a bamboo flute, and wandering in the fields. His innocent look is pleasing. It seems that this is a depiction of the composer’s childhood. The central part is a traditional folk-dance with jubilant rhythm and melody. The third part is the recapitulation of the first part. Permeated with strong national flavour, this piece is a creative example of modern Chinese piano music. In 1934, when He Luting was studying at the Shanghai School of Music, this piano solo won the first prize at the Invitation for Chinese Style Piano Compositions sponsored by the Russian composer Alexander Tcherepnin. Later Tcherepnin even performed it himself during a European tour and had the score published in Japan.

IN SPRING

Composed in 1934, In Spring was originally a song in the film Crossroads. The film describes the young people of the 1930s in the class and national conflicts, who turned from depression to awakening and finally took to the struggle against the invaders. With brisk rhythm, the song In Spring expresses the young people’s confidence of in the future. Defying hunger, cold and all kinds of difficulty, they were determined to strive for a bright future.

LONGING FOR THE BELOVED

Longing for the Beloved was originally a song in Mysterious Case in an Ancient Pagoda, a film produced in the 1930s. With touchingly sentimental melody, the song is an expression of the endless longing for the beloved who is far away.

SHANGHAI PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA

The Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra is among the most distinguished ensembles of its kind in China. It was established in 1952 as the East China Music Troupe, originally under the direction of the well-known composer He Luting, who was followed by Huang Yijun and Situ Han. The present artistic director is Cao Peng. Over the course of some fifty years the orchestra has given over three thousand concerts, in addition to its work in broadcasting, television and film studios and its many recordings for international release.

CAO PENG

One of the most distinguished conductors in China, Cao Peng was born in Jiangyin, Jiangsu, in 1925. In 1946 he entered the Arts Department of Shandong University and in 1950 was appointed principal conductor of both the Shanghai Film Studio Orchestra and the Beijing Film Studio Orchestra. In 1955 he moved to the then Soviet Union, entering the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory to study under the conductor Leo Ginsburg. After his return to China in 1961 Cao Peng was appointed resident conductor of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and is now artistic director and principal conductor of the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as serving as music advisor and resident conductor of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and music director and principal conductor of the Shanghai Chamber Orchestra.

WANG YONGJI

A famous Chinese conductor, he was born in Shanghai in 1947. Since 1967 he has been working as a conductor with the Orchestra of the Shanghai Film Studio. He has conducted the modern Beijing opera On the Docks and a number of film scores, including Below the Bridge. In 1986 he was awarded the Shanghai Municipal Prize of Arts and Literature.


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