He and Chen The Butterfly Lovers violin concerto The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, London, conductor Vasko Vassiliev He & Chen The Butterfly Lovers violin concerto is the work of two students at the Shanghai Conservatory, a violinist named He Zhanhao and a composition major named Chen Gang. But perhaps the most representative piece of this era is the work of two students at the Shanghai Conservatory, a violinist named He Zhanhao and a composition major named Chen Gang. The piece they composed is formally titled Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yintai but is more commonly known in English as The Butterfly Lovers. It is a violin concerto in three parts based on a much-loved legend that is often referred to as &quot;China's Romeo and Juliet&quot;. In writing it, the two composers were influenced both by their study of foreign technique and their familiarity with China's own music. As He Zhanhao explained it, I came from folk music and went to the Conservatory.
So, I sang Yueju [Shaoxing opera] but played the violin. When I got to the conservatory, I studied foreign technique very hard. But, I asked, who am I studying this for? Am I going to play Bach and Beethoven for the peasants? I play it and they listen. I ask if it's good and they all nod their heads. I ask if they understand, they all say no. But they love to hear Yueju! Of course, the violin is very special and beautiful. So, this influenced our thinking &quot;How could we use folk music with the violin? How could we nationalize the violin?&quot; He Zhanhao studied Western technique by day and listened to local opera at night. Thinking to raise the level of Chinese music and bring Western and Chinese music together, he and several classmates began to adapt folk music to violin. They then went to factories and villages to play them and see how they were received. The welcome they received from their audiences encouraged them to write more, as did the support they got from fellow classmates and such professors as Ding Shande, who supervised their work.
&quot;Sometimes we tried lots of different things,&quot; He Zhanhao continued. &quot;Of course, inside we felt so young and not ready for this, but the leaders encouraged us. They told us, you all think Beethoven and Mozart are very great, but remember much of their music came from folk music, too.&quot; Mr. He and Mr. Chen finally completed The Butterfly Lovers in 1959. The music they composed was unique in the way the violin uses the singing technique of yueju, which involves much portamento and different vibrato. They also adapted many other instrumental techniques from Chinese instruments and applied them to violin. Originally, they changed the ending of the story, when the two star-crossed
Wang Yidong ( 王沂东 )had served as a professional painterof Beijing Painting Academy. And heis currently a member of the ArtsCouncil of Beijing Painting Academy,vice chairman of Beijing ArtistsAssociation, councilor of the ChineseArtists Association, and a member ofthe Oil Painting Committee of theChinese Artists Association. He onceheld solo exhibitions in New York,USA, Hong Kong, Macau, Germanyand other countries. His works havewon numerous awards in nationalart exhibitions.
Text and pictures: Internet Arangement: Sanda Foişoreanu www.slideshare.net/michaelasandaSound: He Zhanhao and Chen Gang - The Butterfly Lovers violin concerto