"A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains" is a symphonic poem performed by musicians from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau

182 views · Organized by 愛 on 2022-09-06

On the evening of August 31, the symphonic poem "A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains" jointly performed by musicians from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao was staged at the Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou, which opened the curtain of the second Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Culture and Art Festival.

This is a music event that brings together the elites of Western music and folk music in the Greater Bay Area. They worked together to present this symphonic poem inspired by the peak of Northern Song Dynasty landscape painting "A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains" perfectly on the stage. Thousands of years of ancient paintings traveled through time and space and were revived into musical poems, which made the audience mesmerize.

The performance of the symphonic poem "A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains".

Recently, the reporter interviewed three representatives of Hong Kong and Macao musicians. They live, work and pursue their dreams in the Greater Bay Area, and each has embarked on a wonderful journey of love and music. Their growth trajectories are intertwined and integrated with each other, and they have left a string of unique and shining musical footprints on the splendid scroll of cultural co-construction in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

"Pioneers" who went to Macau to spread the sound of "sheng"

In the cognition of many people, Sheng is an ancient and relatively small national musical instrument. It exists in the ancient poems that we have learned since childhood: "I have guests, I have a guest, and I blow the sheng" in "Dan Ge Xing", or Li Shangyin's poem "Looking at the Milky Way and blowing the jade sheng, Lou Han Yuan is cold and peaceful"... But In real life, its music is still unfamiliar and distant to many people.

At the concert of the symphonic poem "A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains", Jia Lei, the chief of the Sheng Department of the Macao Chinese Orchestra, gave many audiences in the Greater Bay Area a glimpse of the charm of Sheng. That night, he performed the second movement together with the orchestra. Sheng used an extremely light tone to paint a picture of the sky and clouds, making the audience feel as if they were walking in a Chinese landscape painting.

Sheng performer Jia Lei. Photo courtesy of the interviewee

Just like Sheng's light tone, Jia Lei's speech is also light and soft. It was only when he was talking about his old business that he, who had always been brief and concise, suddenly opened the conversation box: "Sheng is the only musical instrument in traditional Chinese wind instruments that can play harmony. It can accompany the band and act as a fusion agent. ."

While playing a demonstration, he enthusiastically explained his 36-key Sheng to reporters. This musical instrument is improved on the basis of the traditional sheng, with a wider range.

According to historical records, Sheng has a history of at least 3,000 years and occupies an important position in ancient court music. But today, not many people are proficient in it.

In 2004, in order to expand his career space, Jia Lei resigned from the job of the Central Chinese Orchestra, left the familiar Beijing, and went south to join the Macao Chinese Orchestra. At the time, he was the only sheng player in the orchestra. He still remembers that at that time in Macau, the fields of performance, teaching and research of Sheng were almost blank, and there were very few teenagers learning to play.

At that time, the Macao Chinese Orchestra had just begun its professional reform, recruiting troops from all over the country, and gradually forming a full-professional lineup of musicians. Benefiting from the professionalization reform, Jia Lei, who was still a rookie at the time, had more opportunities to perform solo and perform with masters. On the one hand, he quickly accumulated a large amount of performance experience and continuously honed his skills; on the other hand, with the encouragement of the Macao Cultural Affairs Bureau and the Orchestra, he carried out publicity and popularization of Sheng culture to the public.

"It was completely from scratch. At the beginning, there were only one or two students. It was very difficult. I once joked that we were here to 'pioneer the land'." Jia Lei recalled.

Jia Lei grew up in Xi'an, and began to be exposed to sheng from elementary school. He studied with Yue Huaen and Yang Shoucheng, the unique artists in the domestic sheng field. The more he knew about this slightly mysterious national musical instrument, the more obsessed he became. When he was still in junior high school, he made up his mind to regard Sheng as his lifelong career.

His passion for Sheng has gradually extended from playing to popularizing education. He and his colleagues in the orchestra initially gave lectures at the school, and later held the "Into the Campus" concert until they formed an orchestra in the school.

Having stayed in Macau for nearly 20 years, Jia Lei deeply realized that with the efforts of the Macau SAR government, the atmosphere of folk music in Macau has grown stronger day by day. The Macao Academy for Performing Arts has also opened a major in Sheng in recent years, and Jia Lei was invited to serve as a tutor. His students, Lin Jinying and Liang Yuxuan, were admitted to his alma mater, the Central Conservatory of Music, respectively. After graduation, they were admitted to the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and the Macao Chinese Orchestra respectively, becoming professional performers.

Jia Lei believes that in order to develop national musical instruments, in addition to the attempt to popularize and promote them, the more important thing is to have good works and constantly tap the performance potential of musical instruments. What excites him is that many young and talented composers have emerged in China in recent years, and their energetic creations have enriched and enhanced the connotation and expressiveness of national symphony.

Zhao Lin, who is the composer of "A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains", also wrote a concerto "Du" for cello, sheng and orchestra before. Jia Lei has performed this piece with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra and Guangzhou Youth Symphony Orchestra many times. "This is a work that tells the story of Xuanzang's acquisition of scriptures and has a Western style. Good music has no geographical restrictions. No matter where it is performed, this work is very popular." Jia Lei said.

As a northerner, Jia Lei said frankly that he hopes to spread the sound of "sheng" in the Greater Bay Area and wider areas, so that more people can understand and fall in love with this ancient treasure of national musical instruments. For this ideal, he is willing to work tirelessly to embark on a long journey like the image of Master Xuanzang he once created with musical notes. And what he enjoys most is always being with his favorite musical instrument.

An Erhu master who "plays" and turns to Cantonese music

The string music rises softly, laying a thousand layers of background colors like ink smudges. The sound of the erhu sounded leisurely, as if the legendary genius painter Wang Ximeng was walking over and over. Facing the mighty mountains and rivers, he couldn't help but swipe away, Danqing holding his arms.

The erhu soloist on the stage of the symphonic poem "A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains" is Zhang Yueru, the principal of the Macao Chinese Orchestra. When Xin Qiji's famous phrase "Look at me full of ice and snow, the mighty rivers flow" appeared on the background of the stage, he looked ahead and let the music flow between the opening and closing of his hands, and there seemed to be bright spots in his eyes.

Erhu virtuoso Zhang Yueru at the performance of the symphonic poem "A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains".

Zhang Yueru was not born in a musical family, but an accidental selection of children's palace music enlightenment when he was in kindergarten made him and erhu become attached. Since then, Erhu has been with him for more than 30 years, from the primary and secondary schools attached to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, to being admitted to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, to the Central Chinese Orchestra after graduation, and then to the Macao Chinese Orchestra in 2004.

Since coming to Macau, Zhang Yueru has started the rhythm of life between Zhuhai and Macau. In his opinion, Zhuhai and Macau are both open and inclusive cities. The atmosphere and vitality of the cities where multiculturalism intersects coincides with his positive attitude. He not only learned Cantonese, but also fell in love with the food and beautiful scenery here. and customs. Today, the convenient and efficient "1-hour life circle" in the Greater Bay Area allows him to enjoy the process of performing in various places.

Music is naturally the direction that Zhang Yueru pays most attention to. He developed a great interest in Cantonese music. In order to enrich himself, he has been studying Cantonese music and playing Cantonese Gaohu under the famous Cantonese music master Professor Yu Qiwei since 2013. He has been studying for more than 6 years.

"Cantonese music has tolerance and vitality, which are particularly good." Zhang Yueru explained that the so-called inclusiveness means that Guangdong music is eclectic. When playing Cantonese music, foreign instruments such as violin, xylophone, saxophone, and Hawaiian guitar can be played. Go into battle. What fascinated him even more was that Lingnan culture has a strong ability to absorb, not only inclusive, but also for his own use, so it has unlimited vitality.

During the tour, Zhang Yueru also became close friends with gaohu player Yu Lefu. They and several other musicians have performed in small groups for many times. They tried to add electric guitars, jazz drums and other musical instruments to Guangdong music, as well as cross-border elements such as rock and roll, and they "played" well.

"One of our most popular songs is "Colorful Clouds Chasing the Moon" adapted by Le Fu. The arrangement completely subverts everyone's impression, and every time the audience stands up and applauds." Zhang Yueru said, they will also be on stage Take a selfie with the audience and make the scene as lively as a pop concert.

In recent years, Zhang Yueru has led the Macao Chinese Orchestra to hold a special performance of Cantonese music in Singapore, which has been well received by the local audience. The Macao Chinese Orchestra has also tried to bring Portuguese fado music and Macanese music played by Chinese national instruments to the Greater Bay Area and even the mainland more cities. "The Greater Bay Area has never resisted foreign cultures, and the music created by the musicians who live and grow here is also nourished by this openness," said Zhang Yueru.

As for the symphonic poem "A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains", Zhang Yueru, a musician, cherishes and loves it more than the audience. When the previous work premiered in the Greater Bay Area, Zhang Yueru expressed her excitement for participating in the performance in the circle of friends.

"Before the premiere, the first time I heard the electronic accompaniment file of "A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains", I thought this work was really good! The six movements are interrelated, and a three-dimensional picture scroll of green and green landscape suddenly appeared in front of my eyes." Zhang Yueru told Reporter, he can clearly feel that all the artists on the stage are very engaged, and many people's bodies will sway gently with the ups and downs of the music.

As for the different interpretations of the works by different orchestras and musicians, Zhang Yueru appreciates it even more. In his opinion, it is the value of an excellent work that each orchestra can enhance understanding and learn from each other. He also expects that Chinese orchestras across the country, including the Greater Bay Area, as well as Chinese orchestras in other Southeast Asian countries, can follow the successful experience of "A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains" and jointly create a joint commission.

"The cultural construction of the Greater Bay Area needs to have real works to promote the common progress of various orchestras in the exchange." Zhang Yueru believes that "A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains" has taken a valuable step, and hopes that there will be more such opportunities in the future. , so that the exchange of artistic talents in the Greater Bay Area can truly "live".

The flute and flute master who played the "Cantonese Music Assembly"

Among the performers from the Greater Bay Area who performed "A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains" on the same stage this time, there was also a special guest, Yang Weijie, the performer of bamboo flute and xiao in the sixth movement "Ten Thousand Mountains into the Sea". His ancestral home is Chaoshan, Guangdong, and he was born and raised in Hong Kong. He is the first doctor of bamboo flute performance in China and the first master of bamboo flute performance in Hong Kong.

The flute and flute player Yang Weijie. Photo courtesy of the interviewee

When Yang Weijie was in junior high school, he learned to play the bamboo flute under the recommendation of his music teacher. "Traveling all over the country, looking for teachers to learn art." He described his learning process in this way. When talking about his mentor, he felt that Hong Kong's folk music had an inseparable connection with the mainland: Mr. Zhang Xianghua, Yang Weijie's enlightenment teacher and bamboo flute player, graduated from the Guangzhou Conservatory of Music at that time. Before coming to Hong Kong, he taught at the Xi'an Conservatory of Music. The doctoral supervisor, Mr. Zhang Weiliang, is a well-known master of flute and xiao performance. He teaches at the China Conservatory of Music. All three are disciples of the flute master, Mr. Zhao Songting.

"It can be said that the folk music of Hong Kong and Macao is a branch of the whole folk music system. Hong Kong and Macao are backed by the mainland, and the mainland has continuously injected strength into the development of folk music in Hong Kong and Macao." Yang Weijie said.

According to Yang Weijie's recollection, in addition to studying art from a teacher, his own path of study also witnessed the deepening process of the exchange and development of folk music between Hong Kong, Macao and the mainland. He and his classmates who graduated during the same period would go to Beijing and other places every winter and summer vacation to ask famous folk music performers from all over the country, often staying for a month or two.

With the further development of his music career, Yang Weijie soon came up with a new plan: since his ancestral home is in Guangdong, he should make some folk music with Guangdong characteristics. But he also realized that traditional folk music must be innovated in order to have a broader stage.

With the idea of trying, in 2016, Yang Weijie and his wife Sha Jingshan, who is a pipa, Zhongruan, Liuqin and Qinqin performer, together with Yu Lefu, a gaohu performer, established the Guangdong Music Cross-Border Performance Group" Cantonese Music Assembly". At the beginning of its establishment, most of the group was their old friends, including many young folk music players from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.

During the rehearsal and performance of "Cantonese Music Assembly", Yang Weijie felt the strong collision of styles by artists from different cities in the Greater Bay Area, and the wonderful spark created by it. "Take the Cantonese folk music 'Wujiatou' as an example, the performers of the 'toujia' will have their own style, and we need to cooperate with each other to form an 'ensemble'. The process of learning." Yang Weijie explained.

The reason for using the name "Assembly" is also due to the concept of the Greater Bay Area. Yang Weijie believes that with the increasingly frequent and in-depth cultural exchanges between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, the characteristics of the common prosperity of humanities and arts in the Greater Bay Area have become more and more distinct. He revealed that at present, the performance group of more than 10 people is developing day by day. In addition to the core members, there are also a number of artists from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau joining from time to time. This year, the group also plans to perform in Macau.

When the "Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Development Planning Outline" was released in 2019, the exchanges between Guangzhou and Hong Kong and Macau were becoming increasingly close, and with the development of the Greater Bay Area, favorable policies for talents were also introduced. By chance, Yang Weijie came to teach at the School of Music of South China Normal University, and also taught bamboo flute performance in colleges and universities such as the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, which opened a new stage of his life as an artist in the Greater Bay Area.

Yang Weijie, who has been teaching in Guangdong and Hong Kong for many years, sees the infinite possibilities of the music blueprint in the Greater Bay Area from young students. He hopes that his students will not only be proficient in folk music, but also grow into multi-disciplinary talents in the music industry, and help the development of folk music in the Greater Bay Area with solid professional skills, planning skills and communication skills.

In Yang Weijie's view, the Greater Bay Area contains new opportunities in all aspects. He used three words to sum up the development trend of local folk music observed over the years: vitality, potential, motivation. He believes: "The integration of different characteristics of each city in the Greater Bay Area will continuously provide impetus for the innovation of folk music."

Reference materials and contributors

Involving musical instruments

Sheng (pinyin: shēng) is one of the oldest musical instruments in China. It is the earliest instrument in the world to use free reeds, and it is also the originator of most existing reed instruments in the world.
Dizi (pinyin: dí zi), also known as the horizontal flute, is generally used as an important musical instrument to accompany opera.
Erhu (Pinyin: Erhu) originated in the Tang Dynasty, called "Xiqin", and has a history of more than a thousand years. It is a traditional Chinese stringed instrument. Erhu, or Erxian Huqin, also known as "Nanhu" and "Omzi", is one of the main bowed and stringed instruments (wiping strings) in the Chinese national musical instrument family.

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