Yellow River Piano Concerto

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The Yellow River Piano Concerto Xian Xinghai * Xian was born in 1905 in Pungu in China. * He joined the communist party in 1938 where he composed the Yellow River Cantata. * The Yellow River was considered by the Chinese as the cradle of China’s civilisation and its sorrow. * The cantata was an eight movement work for chorus orchestra and soloists with narration in between. Yellow River Cantata * The cantata aimed to express the troubles of the people who lived on the banks of the Yellow River who had to battle against flooding and the Japanese invaders. * The piece was composed in four days. * It made use of traditional folk melodies as well as using western techniques (Xian studied abroad). * Each…show more content…
| D | 55-59 | 52 crotchet beats per minute, piu moso, modulates to G minor (relative minor) | E | 60-66 | 69 crotchet beats per minute, B flat major, rit. | Coda | 67-73 | 88 crotchet beats per minute, rit-pause on final note, B flat major. | Characteristics of Movement 2 * The opening of ‘March of the Volunteer’ is used twice by horn 1/trumpet 1 in bars 61-64. ‘March of the Volunteers’ is the Chinese national anthem and was a revolutionary anti-Japanese song. * Mostly Composed in B flat major. * Apart from the restatement of the opening 16 bar melody, only tiny snatches of material are subsequently repeated. * The phrase structure is unusual with changes between 3/4 and 4/4 apart from bars 1-9 and 17-25. There is little use of conventional question and answer phrases. * The orchestra mostly accompanies the piano which plays a figuration based on the underlying harmony. * There are textures for orchestra alone at bars 1-15 and 67-73 and for the piano solo at bars 17-23 and 27-30. * The movement is slow and is lyrical in nature with ballad like melodies. * There is the use of a B flat pentatonic scale (B flat, C, D, F and G). * The movement was heavily influenced by the romantic period (Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff) * The movement matches the second movement of the Yellow River Cantata and depicts the image of travelling down the river. Movement 3 Analysis Section | Bar
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