BAO YUANKAI - YANHUANG FENGQING
Chinese Sights and Sounds 24 Pieces on Chinese Folk tunes for Orchestra
Suit 1. Yan Zhao gu shi
Heibei Folk Songs
Stories on the Lands of Ancient Yan and Zhao
1. Xiaobaicai Little Cabbage
This is a very popular folk song talking about how a boy was ill-treated by his stepmother. Apart from the touching melody, the strings was being highlighted to imitate the boy's sorrow. He missed his mother very much and the composer made use of another Heibei folk song "Crying at the Daybreak" to show the boy's weeping sadness, helpless sighs and transient expectation. In the end, the violin brings us to the misty dreamland which the poor boy is longing for.
2. Xiaofangniu The Little Cowherd
It is a dance tune about the dialogue between a little cowherd boy and a clever country girl. When the girl asked the boy to show her the way, she was being tested with lots of questions. However, the intelligent girl had given the correct answers. Their conversations contribute to a joyful and amusing atmosphere. The sentiments were pushed to a climax by the full orchestra.
There were many tunes or songs named "Jasmine" that could be found all over China especially the eastern provinces. This piece is from Cangzhou in Heibei Province with elegant and delicate melody. The tune is played by violin and viola, describing how a girl projects herself as a jasmine flower and dreams about romantic love.
4. Duihua Can You Guess What Flower It Is
The format of questions and answers is often found in folk songs especially about the flowers' names. This tune is one of them from Cangzhou which is merged with another folk song "Flying the Kite" in the middle part of the piece. The changeable rhythms, contrasted tone colors and frequent shifts of dynamics depict a noisy and gay picture of the cheerful crowd.
Suit 2. Yun ling su miao
Yunnan Folk Songs
Sketches of the Highland of Yuannan
1.Xiaohe Tangshui Flowing Stream
This is a Yunnan folk song describing how a girl is missing her lover under a moonlit night. Different instruments were used to picture the scenery such as the string instruments for the moonlit night, the piano, harp and glock for the flowing stream. The touching melody is then played by the English horn and flute respectively. The music reaches its pinnacle when the low register part representing the boy friend played at half speed and is accompanied by the full string ensemble.
2. Fang Ma Shange Song of Wrangler
This popular Yunnan folk song describes how the herdsman is grazing their horses on the pasture land and mountain. It also shows the bold and straightforward character of the herdsman. Percussion and violins are used to mimic the sounds of horse bells, hoofs and whips. Another wrangling tune with slow tempo and sweet melody appears in the middle part of the piece which shows the peacefulness of the herdsman when taking a rest during his work.
3. Yu bu sahua hua bu hong Blossoming for Rainwater
It is a well-known Yunnan folk song in a pun form by which the girl is like a cluster of flowers and her lover is like a dragon in the sky. The melody and mode of this tune are unique and beautiful. Triplet pattern, which symbolizes raindrops, is used all over the piece. The bassoon, clarinet, piccolo and woodwind instruments are used respectively to interpret this fascinating melody.
4.Caidiao Song of Riddles
This is a children's folk rhyme from Yunnan. In the rhythm of tongue twister, the song depicts how the two sisters are engaging in questions and answers. The mood is humorous and vivid which can be reflected by woodwind and string instruments. The middle part of the piece borrows the melodic tune of another Yunnan folk song "Anningzhou".
Suit 3. Huang tu bei huan
Shannxi Folk Songs
Sadness and Happiness on the Yellow Soil Highland
1. Nuwa danshui Theme and Variation by Folksong of Shannxi
The theme of the melody originates from a Shaanxi folk song which is talking about a country girl's hard life. The music develops in different traditional variations that probes the girl's feelings in many aspects. The tone is sad and melancholy which shows her disconsolate and hard feelings. It also depicts her attempt to struggle against her miserable life.
2.Fuqi douqu The Amusing Couple
It describes the amusing scene of a couple who are laughing at each other. A three-stringed Chinese plucked instrument and the banhu symbolize the couple respectively. The discord of piano and humorous tone color of small gong further strengthens the comic flavor of the theme.
3.Zou Jiangzhou Going to Jiangzhou
It is a popular song in Shaanxi and Shanxi which shows a cheerful man with a carrying pole on his shoulder humming when approaching Jiangzhou. The beautiful country scenery is illustrated by the light-hearted and happy tune of banhu while the fixed sound pattern of violin imitates the elastic movement of the pole on his shoulder.
4.Lan Huahua Lady Lan Huahua
This song is from the north of Shaanxi Province talking about a brave girl called Lan Huahua. She protested against feudalism and pursued her own happy marriage. Her struggle ends in tragedy and finally costs her life. The music begins with oboe and cello to depict their passionate love. Then the brass and strings come in to symbolize her struggle and wrath. In the end, the theme is recapitulated by the kettle drum and finally leads to the tragic ending of the story.
Suit 4. Ba Shu shan ge
Sichuan Folk Songs
Mountain Songs of the Ancient States Ba and Shu
1.Huaihua jishi kai Expecting the Blossom of Scholartree
Sichuan people are known for their diligence, straightforwardness and humor. This is a typical Sichuan folk song talking about how a girl is missing her lover. The tone is amusing and unique. The beautiful melody is recapitulated by the oboe, horn, string instruments, flute and English horn respectively while the harmony in another mode pictures the village scenery.
2. Huangyang biandan Yellow Poplar Shouldering Pole
This Sichuan folk song talks about a young man watching the girls in Qiuzhou to do make-ups on his way carrying a load of rice there too. The music begins with the full orchestra to portray the strong young man while the duet in the middle part of the piece depicts the leisurely and relaxing mood during his rest.
3. Xiu hebao Embroider a Pouch
Embroidering pouch is a very popular theme among Chinese folk songs. It shows the excitement and shyness of young girls when embroidering pouch for their lovers. Girls always give a pouch to their lovers as a token of love. The music begins with string quartet, and is followed by the woodwind, harp and flute respectively. It is just like the shuttling thread in her hand.
4.Taiyang Chulai Xiyangyang Happy Sunrise
This is a lively and straightforward folk song from Sichuan Province. It describes the happiness and pride of children when they climb up the hills to work. The melody is played by the full orchestra. With the highlights of brass, strings and kettledrums, the masculine tone of the piece is further strengthened.
Suit 5. Jiang nan yu si
Jiangsu Folk Songs
Drizzle in the South
1. Wuxi Jing The Scenery of Wuxi
Wuxi in Jiangnan Province is famous for its beautiful scenery which is also the source of inspiration for poets, painters and musicians. Such as the "Moon Reflected in Two Streams" and this folk song are both well-known tunes talking about Wuxi. This orchestral version of the folk song depicts the charming scenery by both the woodwind and strings.
2. Yangliuqing Green Willow
It is an animated and brisk Yangzhou folk song. It is named so because it uses "green willow" as a foil in the lyric which is meaningless. The lyric is changeable with humorous and cheerful words. Pizzicato is applied among all strings and is even used to imitate the rhythm of gongs and drums. The delightful and active tone of the melody is then fully expressed.
3. Bagen Luchaihua Pulling out a Reed Catkin
It is a folk song in Jiangdu County which is always sung when transplanting seeds in the rice fields. Accompanied by the strings in pizzicato and small drums, the tune is played by piano and flute respectively to portray this beautiful Jiangnan scenery.
4. Zizhudiao Bamboo-flute Tune
It used to be a popular love tune in Suzhou and is then become a mode of tune for Shanghai local opera Huju. The lyric is implicit and amusing. Accompanied by the harp, the melody is played by the strings in the style of Jiangnansizu.
Suit 6. Taihang chun qiu
Shanxi Folk Songs
Seasons in Taihang Mountains
1. Zou Xikou Going to West Gate
Popular in Shanxi, Northern Shaanxi and Western Inner Mongolia, this folk song talks about the migration of the poor people from the Highlands for a better living. The music adopts the Shanxi tune with the theme of the sad separation between two lovers. Their feelings are depicted by the strings and the polyphony parts of the orchestra.
2.Nao Yuanxiao Happy Lantern Festival
This is a cheerful Shanxi folk song showing the happiness and excitement of people when celebrating the Lantern Festival. The introductory brass and tunes by suona lead to the climax of the festive joy. Then a soft and emotional tune of "Embroidering Pouch" appears to depict the sentiment of missing their own family under this annual gala.
3. Pashan diao A Tune of Mountain Climbing
Popular in Hequ, Shanxi Province and Wuchuan, Inner Mongolia, the structure of mountain tunes is similar to that of Xintianyou in the Northern Shaanxi Province. Both of them are in sanban (no tempo) and also have the main theme of love. This piece is composed of two mountain tunes which shows how the young village people express their love through those songs.
4. Kan Yangge Going to Watch Yangge Dance
It is a country dance popular in the villages of Northern China. This piece talks about two sisters who go to see the dance and have met lots of interesting things. Percussion is highlighted to depict the rhythm and also the liveliness of the dance.