OLYMPICS / Olympic Life

Classical piece will ring in ears of winners
By Cui Xiaohuo
China Daily Staff Writer
Updated: 2008-08-06 07:37


The classic Chinese tune of Molihua, (Jasmine Flower), played on ancient metal bells and modern jade chimes, has been chosen as the theme score for the Olympic medal ceremonies, composer Tan Dun, who adapted the piece for the Games, said Tuesday.

"Molihua is such an iconic piece it is almost a cultural symbol of China, so everybody thought it was a great choice," the 50-year-old Oscar and Grammy award winner, said at a press conference in Beijing to announce the chosen music.

A four-part composition, co-written by Tan and Wang Hesheng, a composer with the Army orchestra, will be played before, during and after each of the 302 medal ceremonies.

The main melody, which Tan described as "glorious, heartwarming and full of respect", was recorded using the digital recording of a 2,450-year-old bell set excavated from a site in Hubei.

Zhao Dongming, head of BOCOG's culture and ceremonies department, said: "This piece of music reminds you of the gold medals for the Beijing Olympics, which are made of gold and jade."

Tan, whose opera Tea recently made its Chinese debut in Beijing, said he is looking forward to his music being a key for the world to understand Chinese philosophy.

"The resonance of the 2,400-year-old metal bells and modern jade chimes reflects the aspiration of balance and harmony of our Chinese ancestors," Tan, who also wrote the original score for Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, said.

"I hope people remember that China is still the ancient middle kingdom searching for harmony," he said.

Visitors to Beijing can find the origins of the Chinese philosophy of blending metals and jade at the Confucius Temple, Zhao said.

Molihua dates back to ancient times in China, but it became known around the world when it was used by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini in his opera Turandot.

"From Puccini to the Beijing Olympics, this melody is a gift from the Chinese people to the world's athletes," Tan said.

Molihua was selected as the music for the medal ceremonies from more than 4,000 pieces submitted over the past four years by amateur and professional composers from around the world, Zhao said.

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