Music with meaning

Shi Peng, a Changsha-based expert on ancient Chinese poetry, recites a poem at the Beijing concert. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Fang Qiong, a renowned singer and professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, presents a concert in Beijing, with ancient poetry in focus. Fang Aiqing reports.     

The beauty of classical Chinese poetry was enhanced with the guqin (a Chinese seven-string zither) as Fang Qiong, a renowned singer and professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, staged a concert in Beijing on Thursday.

The first half of the concert featured old tunes involving the guqin and xiao (a vertical bamboo flute).

The old tunes included the well-known Yang Guan Farewell, Yearning for Long and Remember Playing Xiao on Tower Phoenix, which were originally composed with lyrics of poems in ancient China.

The latter half of the concert comprised pieces by recent Chinese composers, such as Zhao Jiping, Xi Qiming, Wang Di, Yang Yibo and the late Liu Wenjin, which combine lyrics from ancient poems with modern melodies.

“Few guqin players are able to sing the old tunes now. This is what prompted me to look for the old tunes. It’s my duty to act as a bridge to take them to a wider audience,” says Fang, 52.

Her concert tour, which started in Shanghai last year, is a result of years of research and exploration.

Explaining how the poems were set to music, Fang says that in ancient times, intellectuals gathered at a site with great view, and inspired by the scenery they would compose poems, play the guqin and sing.



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