Exploring Chinese Orchestral Repertoire Series #34

Yun-Song Chu: Yue Fei the Loyal Hero

Pipa: Yun-Han Su / Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra, Tien-Ku Percussion Group / Chih-Sheng Chen / National Concert Hall, Taipei, Taiwan 2014.7.13

“My wrath bristles through my helmet, the rushing rain stops as I stand by the rail; I look up towards the sky and let loose a passionate roar…” This is the familiar poem written by our national hero Yue Fei. Whenever our country is in danger or facing challenges, we will very naturally recall this poem to give us courage and the will to carry on. Perhaps we mourn and feel sorry for Yue Fei’s unfulfilled dream to save his country. But who is so brave and capable of saving a falling country?

Indeed, time after time, there are heroes who have conquered the invaders, saved their country and fellowmen. But tragically, these heroes are often unappreciated and pushed aside or even crushed by the ruling authorities. Morals and patriotism have completely fallen apart. Now, if we think of those heroes in our history and the devotion and sacrifice they bring to their times, we have to ask ourselves: Have we given them enough justice and respect? Have we failed to allow heroism and patriotism to have its place? The answer is obvious: we only think of Yue Fei’s poem in times of adversity, but forget it altogether in happier times. Yes, it may seem unnecessary to worry ahead, to be always prepared for difficult times. But if we forget the lessons passed on to us by our ancestors, by our history, then Yue Fei’s words will always remain merely a poem, a song, or just a story.

There are three movements to this work:

1) Fallen: the country has fallen, the loyal court officials have fallen, patriotism and heroism have fallen.

2) Mourning: mourning for the fallen country, mourning for the fallen patriots and heroes, mourning for shame and humiliation suffered.

3) Recovery: recovery of the fallen country, recovery of heroism , patriotism and ambition of the heart, and recovery of righteousness. Let us dedicate this song to the hero Yue Fei, as well to all who have fallen. May all of us travel along the path of righteousness and courage, and follow the footsteps of our ancient heroes.

(Translation: Mimi Yeung / Edit: Patty Chan)