Feast your ears on the musical classics of the east with MUSIC TALKS, the Middle Kingdom’s mashup of classical music and in-depth discussions with some of China’s most celebrated orchestral professionals. Experience the instruments, get some perspective, feel the pulse of antiquity.
Songs for the dearly departed
Honoring deceased family members is a common practice in many continents across the globe, such as Day of the Dead, Day of Saints and the Wag Festival, just to name a few. China also has this tradition to cultivate kinship values, filial piety and continuity of lineage. In fact, it is a public holiday called the Qingming Festival, or Tomb-Sweeping Day, which falls on April 4th this year. Families across the country visit the graves of friends and family, spruce up the area and make offerings to their spirits, including cakes, fruit and flowers. White and yellow chrysanthemums are one of the conventional options, which symbolize grief in Chinese culture. In this edition, our guest on the show is Yang Chunlin, a famed conductor and composer with the China Oriental Performing Arts Group. He brings us some of his works that depict the appearance, aroma and spirit of the flower. In addition, we’ll get a glimpse of the customs observed during this special time of the year.
Songs to ease you into spring
Spring has arrived. A favorite for most of us since it’s the time of the year when we can finally say farewell to winter, enjoy more daylight, and feel more uplifted by the natural stimuli the season brings.
To echo this cheerful atmosphere, our guest on the show Yang Chunlin brings you several songs about this particular season. Yang is a famed conductor and composer with the China Oriental Performing Arts Group, one of the earliest cultural groups at the national level.
"The suona changed my life!"
Previously, Mr Niu Jiandang, the suona master with China National Traditional Orchestra, brought us up close with the instrument that is widely played in rural China. In today's episode, Mr Niu will share with us his musical journey, from which we will hear how this Chinese trumpet changed a teenage boy's destiny.
Cheerful Greetings & Farewells (with the Suona)
Tony has a confession to make that the suona, regarded as the Chinese oboe or trumpet, wasn’t one of his personal favourites. Yet meeting Mr Niu Jiandang, a suona master, Tony has new eyes and ears for the instrument. We hope you do too.
Transcending traditional boundaries
In this edition, we get up-close with Shang Jingya, a guzheng performer and composer with the Beijing Peking Opera Theatre, about her innovative way of blending her style of music into Peking opera.
Recently, Shang held her major concert at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, the country’s top theater.
Our host Tony Reid spoke with her to learn more about her motivation, challenges and expectations for this inventive crossover, as well as some of her musical works presented at the concert.
Happy Lantern Festival
On the fifteenth day of the first lunar month, when the moon is at its fullest, the Chinese New Year holiday comes to its climax with the Lantern Festival. This year, the festival falls on February 26th.
So how is this day celebrated and what does this day have to do with lanterns? All in today's Music Talks. Let’s take this time to check out some tunes themed on this special time of the year.