On the night of February 20th, a Chinese New Year Concert was kicked off at the City Recital Hall with the famous Spring Festival Prelude, a grand and energetic piece commanding the audience’s attention and creating a delightful and distinct Chinese air.
Performed by the Hunan Orchestra of Chinese Music, the concert gave tribute to classical Chinese music, displaying their rich Hunan style. The melodious Spring of Xiang River, the passionate On the Miluo River, and the exquisitely performed A Journey to Xiaoxiang thoroughly enthralled the audience as they were transported into the fascinating land of Hunan.
The Xiangxi Da Liuzi, an ancient folk percussion art form listed in China’s inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, was also included.Entitled Myna Taking a Bath, the piece featured the use of gongs and cymbals to mimic the sounds of myna (a type of bird) as they bathed merrily in a pond, drinking water, clapping their wings and shaking their feathers. Vivid and realistic, Myna Taking a Bath expressed the kindness, bravery and humour of the Tujia people.
Other classic Chinese pieces like Galloping War Horses, Ambush from Ten Sides and The Jasmine Flower also showcased the glamour of traditional Chinese music. Re-arranged versions of the classic Australian songs I Still Call Australia Home and Click Go the Shears were also played, giving a beautiful sense of unity through the use of traditional Chinese instruments.
Strauss’ Radetzky March was played as the concert’s grand finale, with concert conductor Beiyi Fu encouraging the audience to clap in time to the well-loved tune. Thus, the Chinese New Year Concert 2015 ended with joyous cheering and a mighty applause, with members of the orchestra extending their very best wishes to the audience for the Chinese New Year.
Following the performance, an Australian member of the audience admitted that though it was his first experience with traditional Chinese music, he had found the music deeply captivating. Australian musician, John Huie, also highly praised the choice of pieces and the talent of the performers, as well as the planning and execution of the entire event. Mr. Huie said he looked forward to attending the Chinese concert every year in the future.
The Hunan Orchestra of Chinese Music has a history of more than 50 years, being the first and only orchestra in Hunan province to combine Chinese and western musical elements. The Orchestra has so far performed in dozens of countries and regions in Asia, Europe and Africa.
The Orchestra (consisting of 35 members) will also participate in the Chinese Lunar New Year Twilight Parade on the night of February 22nd.