Violin Concerto—The Butterfly Lovers
Violin Concerto—The Butterfly Lovers
  • Album Title:Violin Concerto—The Butterfly Lovers
  • Item No:Master-053a
  • Genre:Chinese Folk
  • Artists :Yu Lina (violin)
  • Company:ABC (Int'l)Records
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1/4” Studio Master $380 $350
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Total Time 00:25:43



The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto was written in 1959 by Chen Gang and He Zhanhao while they were students at the Shanghai Conservatory and was first performed in May the following year. Musically the concerto is a synthesis of Eastern and Western traditions and overall style are adapted from traditional Chinese opera. The solo violin is used with a technique that recalls the playing technique of the Chinese two-string fiddle. It is a one-movement programmatic concerto, with three phases of the story-Fall In Love, Opposition To An Arranged Marriage and Transformation Into Butterflies.
The narrative, derived from Chinese folk-lore, tells the story of the lovers Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai. The two had been studying together, with Zhu Yingtai disguised as a boy, her identity unknown to her friend Liang Shanbo. Their period of study together and friendship is a happy one, which comes to an end when Zhu Yingtai is compelled to return home, and the couple part at a pavilion, eighteen miles from the city. This forms the exposition of a tripartite sonata form movement.
In the central section, the formal development, Zhu Yingtai now defies her father, who has arranged a marriage for her. Liang Shanbo decides to visit Zhu Yingtai and only finds she is a girl and about to be married. There is a tender duet between vilins and cello, now Liang Shanbo realizes the nature of his affection for his former companion. Liang Shanbo dies the victim of despair, and Zhu Yingtai, on the way to her wedding, stops at her lover’s tomb and leaps into it. The tomb bursts open and at the sound of the gong the music reaches a climax.
In the final section of the concerto, the recapitulation, the lover reappears and Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai emerge from the tomb as a pair of butterflies, flying together, never more to be parted.

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