About this Recording
82099 - SHI, Y.: Symphony No. 1 / Horn Concerto, 'Memory'

Composed in 1960, Shi Yongkang's Frst Symphony has drawn its material from the revolutionary historical course from the birth of the Chinese Communist party in 1927 to the junction of the main forces of the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army in Jinggang Mountains. Jiangxi, in 1927.The symphony expresses the fighting career of the Chinese communists, who, in the dark old China, advanced bravely wave upon wave seeking the truth. The first movement, Overture Daybreak is in ternary form. The deep slow introduction leads to the depressing heavy-first theme, which displays the calamity of the Chinese people under the rule of the warlords at the beginning of this century. The solemn second theme reflects the awakening of the people. It was the Marxism that brought the people light and hope. The allegro second movement Armed Uprising is in sonata form. It takes as material the three armed uprisings of the Shanghai workers under the leadership of the Communist Party. The primary theme expresses the vigorous pound of the people's armed forces against the reactionary rule, while thesecondary theme presents the people's striving for a new victory. The slow third movement Mourning in ternary form expresses the people's mourning for the martyrs and their deep thinking about the way and the future of the revolution. The fourth movement, finale, The Jinggang Mountains, is in sonata-rondo form. The foundation of the Communist base area in the Jinggang Mountains opened up a triumphant chapter of the Chinese revolution. With unconstrained magnificent tones the symphony enthusiastically extols the great victory of the people's revolution.

Memory is a horn concerto composed by Shi Yongkang in 1962 in commemoration of the revolutionary martyrs. On the title page of the score, the composer cites a poem by Yin Fu, a Communist poet who was murdered by Kuomintang in 1931. The poem reads as follows:

Let the dead be dead!

They will never shed their blood in vain.

We should never grieve and sigh,

There is still a long way in front of us.

They have done their duty,

We should go on fighting.

By this concerto the composer gives his expression to his grief for the martyrs and enhances the confidence and courage of the successors. The single movement concerto is fundamentally in sonata form, yet the formative characteristics of the rondo and the compound ternary are mixed in it. At the beginning, the primary theme appears in the higher register. The deep largo melody expresses the people's memory of and their reverence for the revolutionary martyrs. The secondary theme in the rhythm of successive triplets is powerfully dynamic. It is fully developed in the development, describing the older generation of revolutionaries struggling bravely, one stepping into the breach as another fell. After that, the dramatic change of the music expresses the injury and death of the martyrs. In the following cadenza, with colourful techniques, the music reveals their lofty inner world. In the recapitulation, the primary theme is played on the orchestra as the culmination, in which the composer portrays the lofty image of the martyrs in a magnificent manner. In the coda, the primary theme is repeated on the muted horn, which once again highlights the meaning of the concerto -- the people's profound memory of the martyrs.

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