Following China’s wonderful performances at the London Olympics, I thought I’d share with you a relatively modern piece from China, in celebration. The Yellow_River_Piano_Concerto, is played by the hugely talented and popular Lang_Lang, probably the world’s most famous pianist right now.
Apparently, the patriotic Chinese composer, Xian Xinghai ( 冼星海, June 13, 1905 – October 30, 1945), educated in Guangzhou and Paris, and visited Russia and died there, wrote the eight-movement piece Yellow River Cantata in Yan’an in 1939, during the Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945). He made use of traditional folk melodies and the images of the Yellow River as a symbol of Chinese people fighting against the Japanese invaders. Can you hear the river roaring in fury and horses raging in battles? I certainly can.
During the early days of Cultural Revolution, the Yellow River Cantata was banned, but later under the orders of Madam Mao, a group of musicians rearranged it to a four-movement piano concerto: 1) Prelude: The Song of the Yellow River Boatmen, 2) To the Yellow River, 3) The Yellow River In Anger, 4) Defend the Yellow River.
Time to enjoy Lang Lang’s powerful and passionate rendition of the concerto, along with fireworks in Tian’anmen Square.
Lang Lang – Yellow River Concerto 朗朗-黄河协奏曲
Many pianists both from China and overseas have performed the Yellow River Concerto. In a short video I made following the professional interpreters protests in London, I chose this highly charged and electric piece, performed by Eileen Huang. If you have not watched it, here is another chance.
Interpreters United – We Fight, We Feast & We Celebrate!