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Art in concert

Updated: 2013-03-15 10:07
By Chen Nan ( China Daily)

Art in concert
A scene from the  Chinese folk orchestra concert, Dwelling in the Fu-chun Mountains, premiered at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing on March 6. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

Composer Liu Yuan's orchestral piece, based on a 600-year-old landscape painting, was performed for the first time recently and is scheduled to go on a national tour. Chen Nan reports.

When composer Liu Yuan was invited to compose an orchestral piece, based on an ancient landscape painting, he was hesitant to nod.

Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains is arguably the greatest work by Yuan Dynasty artist Huang Gongwang (1269-1354).

Compared with the 600-year-old painting, orchestra music is a young art genre in China, Liu says.

"Both the visual impact of the painting and the painter's emotion need to be reflected through the music, which is challenging and exciting for me," Liu says.

Art in concert

A fascination with wood 

The composer decided to spent two months traveling to the Fuchun Mountains, southwest of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province - the place where painter Huang had spent the last years of his life and created the painting at 82 years old.

Liu, a professor of Central Conservatory of Music, conducted research about the artist to get a better understanding on the masterpiece.

"I slow myself down and imagined myself as Huang," he recalls.

The days of turning the painting into music, Liu says, felt like he was communicating with Huang spiritually.

Huang was a government official who was once sentenced to prison. After serving his time, he abandoned all intentions of attaining official rank and decided to return to his hometown.

Only at the age of 50 did Huang pick up painting seriously, which led to him becoming one of the masters in landscape painting. But to Liu, Huang was an ordinary old man, living a simple life in mountains.

"Huang had experienced ups and downs in life, which is why he had a unique perspective of life and was able to present it through such a great painting," Liu says.

Apart from the landscape, Liu says he was inspired by folk songs.

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