Home » Music

Chinese Music Classics of 20th Century – IV/VI: Instrumental Solo

Dec 11, 2009

(Continues from Chinese Music Classics of 20th Century – III/VI: Choir & Opera)

The Glowing Forests of Endor

A Night at West Lake | by {link:http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuckincustoms/3371420687/}Stuck in Customs{/link}


“Chinese Culture Promotion Association”, a non-governmental organization, had been set up for merely three years before this selection by a group of government and business people from southeastern provinces.

Despite its non-governmental organization title, the Council is no lack of party and government officials. For example, the President Ye Xuanping is the former governor of Guangdong Province, and the incumbent vice chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, the Secretary-General Xiao Yang is current governor of Sichuan Province.

Thanks to “reform and opening up”, the southeastern provinces of China have become the richest regions. The level of interest in arts activities has also risen accordingly. The Association aims to promote artistic and cultural activities. It plays an important role in an era when cultural activities in mainland China were switching from leading by the government to the hand of civil society .

Selection Process

In 1992, musicians from the mainland such as Wang Liping (the author of theme song for “Dream of the Red Chamber”, the TV series) and others formed the preparatory committee. They compiled a list of more than 400 works, which contains works by famous 20th century Chinese composers (no more than three each).

Then they asked music industry leader Wu Zuqiang to organize a selection committee panel. These musicians were invited: the mainland’s Wang Liping, Wang Yuhe Yuan Jingfang, Zheng Xiaoying, Yan Liang-Kun, Sang Tong, Zhu Jian-er, Chen Ling Qun; Taiwan’s Hsu Chang-hui, Ma Shui-long, Wu Ji-Zha; Hong Kong’s Chan Wing-wah, Fei Ming-yi; overseas: Chou Wen-chung, Leung Mingyue .. and others. (Taiwan, Hsu, Ma, were not present to vote, they asked Wu to represent them.)

That November, the selection panel met in Chongqing in order to review the work and run the selection ballot. Originally a round “100” selections was planned, but because of discrete electoral votes, plus other considerations, the panel finally made an announcement on November 16 that a total of 124 tracks in 9 sections will be selected.

It’s another problem to decide the selection committees. No veteran musicians (eg, He Luting) was on the list, on which are mostly current generations such as Wu Zuqiang or younger. Low ages might have been criticized as low authority, but the previous generation should naturally be assessed by later generations, who have a wider field of vision and are more able to accommodate different genres of music.

After all, for most works on the list, however, their authors are still in good health. The list will inevitably become a divided pie, as we can see the final list is allocated by age, region, political factors, etc..

Hong Kong music critic Zhou Fanfu said that it is already unreasonable for the composers to assess their own works. It is really absurd to have unrepresentative instrument performers to have the power of selecting the classic. For example, the qualifications of vocalist Fei Mingyi, pianist Wu Ji-Zha are suspicious. How many of these works had they ever heard?

(… to be continued …)

Instrumental Solo


Fisherman at Sunset | by {link:http://www.flickr.com/photos/leafvert/2030803693/}lucy{/link}

In previous sections, we have covered Songs, Choir and Operas. You probably had difficulty in enjoying them since they are all vocal music in Chinese language. Since today, the other sections are going to be mainly instrumental music. Hopefully it will be easier for you to enjoy them.

作品 Year Composer Instrument English Title w. video link
《病中吟》 1918 刘天华 Erhu Groaning From the Patient
《空山鸟语》 1928 刘天华 Erhu Warbling On A Desolate Mountain
《良宵》 1927 刘天华 Erhu Beautiful Evening
《二泉映月》 1940s 华彦钧 Erhu Moon Reflected on Second Spring
《枫桥夜泊》 1998 王建民 Piano At Night on the Lake Beneath the Maple Bridge
《豫北叙事曲》 1958 刘文金 Erhu & Piano North Henan Ballad
《渔舟唱晚》 1930s 娄树华改编 Guzheng Night Song on Fishing Boats
《大浪淘沙》 1940s 华彦钧 Pipa Great Waves Sweeping Away Sands
《霸王卸甲》 刘德海 Pipa The Conqueror Unarms
《彝族舞曲》 1960 王惠然 Pipa Dance Song Of The Yi Nationality
《阳明春晓》 1960 董榕森 Flute Spring Dawn of Yangming Mountain
《秋湖月夜》 1981 于逊发、彭正元 Flute Moonlit Night on an Autumn Lake
《牧童短笛》 1934 贺绿汀 Piano Buffalo Boy’s Flute
《快乐的节日》 1953 丁善德 Piano Happy Holiday
《百鸟朝凤》 1980s 王建中 Piano Birds Adoring the Phoenix, 2
《他山集》 1981 江立三 Piano Collection from Beyond
《长短的组合》 1983 权吉浩 Piano Combination of Long and Short
《多耶》 1983 陈怡 Piano Duoye
《内蒙组曲》 1937 马思聪 Violin Inner Mongolia Suite
《幻想曲》 1951 桑桐 Cello Fantasia
《侗乡鼓楼》 1995 邹向平 Piano Dong Drum Tower Improvisation
《第一二胡狂想曲》 1988 王建民 Erhu No. 1 Erhu Rhapsody, 2
《琵琶行》 Pipa Song
《远草赋》 陈铭志 Sheng Tribute to Grass Far Away

Please stay tuned and other parts will be posted soon!

[Chinese Keyword]

Rate this:
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
  1. December 14th, 2009 at 00:07 | #1

    I love your blog, it’s got such a nice layout!
    I’ve played a string quartet version of the 《二泉映月》, It’s a beautiful song.

  2. December 14th, 2009 at 07:54 | #2

    a string quartet version of the 《二泉映月》, that sounds very interesting. I wish I was at your concert 😕

  3. Claire Londner
    April 1st, 2013 at 08:42 | #3

    The use of instrumental music in church goes back to the earliest days of Old Testament writing. There are quite a number of psalms which refer to the playing of musical instruments in acts of worship Psalm 150 is a particularly good example.

Comments are closed.