About this Recording
82098 - ZHONG: Pictures of the Yangtze River

Symphony No. 2 - Dedicated to Pioneers

Before the pioneers is a path dangerous and overgrown with brambles. It is a path that needs the pioneers’ devoted labour. The pioneers are representatives of truth. They are the embodiment of wisdom, strength and ideals. They step into the breach as others fall. They are unconquerable. Pioneers without number have built a splendid civilisation. They have created a glorious world. They will go on opening up an incomparably brilliant and happy future for mankind. Truth is bound to prevail over falsehood. The light is sure to vanquish the darkness.

Pictures of the Yangtze River

The symphonic suite Pictures of the Yangtze River has four movements. The first, Mount Emei opens with a depiction of dawn and the sea of clouds on Mount Emei. A dramatic climax reveals a panorama from the golden summit. To the East is the boundless West Sichuan Plain. In the distant West is the Qinghai Tibet Plateau, on which Mount Gongga scatters its splendour in the brilliant sunshine, a tribute to the magnificence of the mountains and the rivers of our motherland. The second movement, Tujia Dance, depicts the Tujia people, an ethnic minority in West Hunan and South-West Hubei, dancing their hand swaying dance. Bold, unrestrained and full of optimism, the dancers’ movements express their love for their happy life. The third movement is Misty Rain in Wu Gorge. The gorge is one of the well-known Three Gorges of the Yangtze River. On both sides of its zigzag river course are high mountain ridges. The composer here intends to reflect the beauty of his motherland. The gorge is enveloped in mist. There is gentle rain falling and the Goddess Peak glitters in the distance. The last movement, Dragon Boat Festival in Zigui, depicts the native town of Qu Yuan, a great poet in ancient China. On the occasion of the Dragon Boat Festival every year, the local people hold elaborate ceremonies in commemoration of him. By depicting the festivities this movement reveals the Chinese people’s memory of Qu Yuan and reflects local conditions and customs in the West Hubei mountain region. The whole piece ends with the dragon-boat race, a symbol of the courage and progress of the Chinese people.

Festival Overture

Festival Overture composed for the inauguration ceremony for the Wuhan Bianzhong Concert Hall, named after the great sets of bronze bells, the bianzhong of ancient China. In the first section, the percussion and the brass open the grand celebrations. Following this is a an extended cantabile melody, a reminiscence of unforgettable history. The middle section represents the joyful singing of the masses. In the recapitulation section, the song of praise comes to a height, suggesting the approaching spring of Chinese music.

Zhong Xinming

The Chinese composer and conductor Zhong Xinming was born in Nanning, in Guangxi, in 1935. In 1956 he graduated from the Composition Department of the Central and South China School of Music and began work as a teacher at the school. The same year he was admitted to the master-class of the Conducting Department of Shanghai, Conservatory of Music. Zhong is now a member of the China Musicians Association, a member of the Council of the Hubei Musicians Association, and a professor at Wuhan Conservatory of Music. For many years he has been engaged in composition, conducting and education. His important works include two symphonies, the symphonic suite Pictures of the Yangtze River, a violin concerto, Festival Overture and Capriccio for orchestra. In 1989 he gave a concert of his works in Beijing and was acclaimed by the audience as well as by the musicians. In 1991 his Second Symphony was performed by the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra in Japan. The same year he was awarded the Art Star Prize by the Hubei Federation of Literary Art Circles As a conductor he has appeared with various orchestras, including the China Central Philharmonic Orchestra, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Film Orchestra and Wuhang Symphony Orchestra.

Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra

The Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the most famous performing ensembles in China. It was established in 1952 as the East China Music Troupe. The first Director was He Luting, a well-known composer, followed by Huan Yijun and Situ Han. The orchestra is now conducted by Cao Peng. In the past forty years, the orchestra has given over three thousand concerts, including special concerts for individual composers and musicians, and collaborated with singers and soloists from all over the world. Apart from giving concerts, the orchestra often makes recordings for radio stations, television stations and film studios, as well as for recordings for world-wide release.

Cao Peng

Cao Peng is one of the most distinguished conductors in China. He was born in Jiangyin, Jiangsu in 1925. In 1946, he entered the Arts Department of Shandong University. In 1950 he was principal conductor of both the Shanghai Film Studio Orchestra and the Beijing Film Studio Orchestra. In 1955, he went to the Russia to study at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory under the celebrated conductor Leo Ginsberg. Cao Peng was appointed resident conductor of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra after his return in 1961. He is now artistic director and principal conductor of the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, artistic director of the Marco Polo Symphony Orchestra, music advisor and resident conductor of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and music director and principal conductor of the Shanghai Chamber Orchestra.

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