Over the weekend, a fellow author, Matt Posner, asked me if there was a recording on YouTube about Shanbo and Yingtai – he has been reading my book The Same Moon, which made reference to this well-known classical Chinese love story. Of course, my friend, there are numerous renditions of this beautiful piece of music, played by many renowned musicians both within China and outside. I have selected two video clips here, the first by Yu Lina, who was the very first violinist to perform this piece over 50 years ago, when she was only 18 years old. She is now a Professor at Shanghai Conservatory.
The second video is the full violin Concerto by young Japanese violist Akiko Suwanai, performing at Shanghai Grand Theatre.
However, before I indulge you in this marvellous selection of music treat, I’d like to share the excerpt from The Same Moon, as an introduction to the stories behind the music and drama.
It was a classic love story called Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai. It was set in Jin Dynasty (265-420 AD). The heroine, Yingtai, from a rich family, wanted to study, but was prevented by tradition, which barred girls from formal education. She finally persuaded her family and succeeded in her wish only by disguising herself as a boy. While at school, she fell in love with her classmate, Shanbo, a bright scholar from a very poor background.
Before long, Yingtai was called back, following orders from her father, a wealthy and powerful man. Without revealing her true identity, Yingtai invited Shanbo to visit “his” home and meet “his younger sister.”
When Shanbo showed up, Yingtai’s parents, infuriated by her disobedient behaviour, had imprisoned her, up on the top floor of their pagoda-styled mansion. With the help of her maid, Yingtai managed to meet with Shanbo, who then discovered her true identity, the most beautiful girl in his dreams. There was a scene straight from Romeo and Juliet, where Yingtai was singing her heart out on the balcony, while Shanbo swore undying love for Yingtai.
His request to marry Yingtai was rejected by the Man of the House. How dare he? A poor scholar with nothing to offer; yet he had the guts to ask to marry his precious daughter? Shanbo was thrown out and warned never to return. - The Same Moon
Now Happy Listening, but be prepared to be moved!
俞麗拿 -《梁祝小提琴協奏曲》 Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto by Yu Lina part 1
諏訪內晶子 -《梁祝小提琴協奏曲》 Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto by Akiko Suwanai