94 episodes

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.

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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.

    Strings of emotion

    Strings of emotion

    Previously, we've introduced a bowed-string instrument, called the banhu, which is often acclaimed as the Chinese violin due to its sound.
    In this episode, we will bring you another member of the bowed-string family, the erhu, which is good at depicting intricate emotional expressions, such as sorrow and helplessness, and several notable animal portrayals.
    Today, our guest on the show is Duan Chao, an erhu instrumentalist from the leading Chinese ensemble in the nation, the China National Traditional Orchestra.
    She brings us three representative pieces of the genre for our enjoyment.
    Song lists:
    1. Strings Echoing on the Frontier, 塞上弦鸣, composed by Li Binyang, conducted by Liu Sha
    2. The Waves and the Sand, 大浪淘沙, composed by Abing and rearranged by Song Fei
    3. Chanting of Xiange, 弦歌吟, composed by Li Bochan

    • 30 min
    Revisiting the latest model of guzheng: The duosheng zither

    Revisiting the latest model of guzheng: The duosheng zither

    Previously, we've introduced an unorthodox zither, called the duosheng zheng, which consists of two zithers of different sizes that are joined.
    The new model is a result of instrumental reform that its musical expression has been considerably enhanced, and allows musicians to integrate more bodily movements according to the mood of the music, which adds to the experience.
    Today, we continue with Miao Qing, a guzheng instrumentalist from the top orchestra in the nation, the China National Traditional Orchestra.
    She handpicked a duosheng zheng duet, which is controversial, abstract and renowned in the guzheng circle. In addition, a traditional guzheng concerto will also be introduced.
    Song list:
    1. Wind from Eight Directions, performed by Miao Qing and Zhang Jiakang, composed by Li Meng
    2. Wonderland, performed by Miao Qing, composed by Li Bo

    • 29 min
    Happy National Day!

    Happy National Day!

    China’s National Day falls on October 1st each year, to commemorate the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.
    This year marks the 71th anniversary of the founding of the nation and also another important holiday, the Mooncake Festival, also occurs on the same day.
    Whether you are at home enjoying quality time with your beloved ones or on your way to a resort destination, the music we present today is surely not to be missed.
    Today, we handpicked several remarkable pieces from Zhao Cong, a premier pipa instrumentalist from the leading orchestra of the nation, the China National Traditional Orchestra.
    Her music blends the essence of Chinese classics and world music, in her ongoing effort to cross-cultural barriers.
    Let’s see where you go in these melodies.
    Song lists:
    1. Rose Tango
    2. The Flying Fairy
    3. A Wonderful Time
    4. The Hero’s Departure

    • 31 min
    The sheng: An age-old reed instrument

    The sheng: An age-old reed instrument

    In ancient times, Chinese instruments were usually divided into eight groups, depending on what they were made from, including stone, wood, silk, metal, bronze, soil, leather and gourd.
    In this episode, we will get some insight into a representative instrument of the gourd type, the sheng, one of the oldest free-reed instruments in the world.
    After the instrument was spread globally through the Ancient Silk Road, many say it is the predecessor of some reed-instruments in Europe, such as the pipe organ and harmonica.
    Its tonality is known to be quite appealing and used to resemble the chirp of a mythical bird in China, the phoenix.
    Today, our guest on the show is Mr Wu Xuewei, the premier sheng instrumentalist from the leading orchestra in the nation, the CNTO.
    Mr Wu brings us his four famed works which were performed at his solo recital.

    • 34 min
    The ‘Book of Songs’ : A Tan Chen Perspective

    The ‘Book of Songs’ : A Tan Chen Perspective

    Michael Tan Chen is a celebrated American Chinese pianist and composer. He learnt playing the piano at age four and composed his first piece at 11. In 1990, 14-year-old Tan went to the US and studied at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Later, Tan studied piano and composition at the renowned Julliard School of Music.
    Last week, Tony Reid had the pleasure meeting Tan Chen at his home in Beijing. Today, let's hear his story and enjoy some of his compositions from the Book of Songs, the oldest existing collection of ancient Chinese poetry.
    Song Lists:
    1. Intro: 淇奥 River inlet of Qi, women's choir and piano
    2. 子衿 Blue is your collar, for mixed choir a cappella
    3. 关雎 The Crying Osprays, for mixed choir a cappella
    4. 黍离 Millet Grows, for Men's choir and piano
    5. 淇奥 River inlet of Qi, women's choir and piano
    Lyrics from 'Book of Songs', composed by Tan Chen, and sung by Madrigal Choir 中德牧歌合唱团

    • 35 min
    Revisiting the eastern guitar: the ruan

    Revisiting the eastern guitar: the ruan

    Previously, we’ve introduced an eastern version of the guitar, called the ruan, which shares a similar tonality, appearance and playing techniques.
    Today, we have Ms Zhao Yue with us, a ruan performer from the top orchestra in the nation, the China National Traditional Orchestra.
    She brings us several representative pieces of the genre and hopes that our listeners are able to explore the enchantment of the instrument.
    Song lists:
    1. Fantasy, 异想天开, performed by Zhao Yue and Wei Yuru
    2. A Chill Breeze through the Pines, 松风寒, performed by Wei Yuru
    3. Asturias, 阿斯图里亚斯的传奇, performed by Zhao Yue, Feng Mantian and Zhang Yanqiu, conductor: He Jianguo
    4. BGM: Snow Goose Flying to the South, 雪雁南飞, performed by Wei Yuru

    • 32 min

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