Veteran composer devotes himself to revolution-themed composition

(People's Daily Online) 10:42, August 13, 2021

Lyu Qiming sits beside a piano. (Photo/People's Daily)

Lyu Qiming, a renowned composer whose works include many revolution-themed songs, has recently been awarded the July 1 Medal, the highest honor in the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Lyu became a Party member in 1945 at age 15. During that year, his father, also a Party member, was arrested and killed by the Japanese. "I embarked on the revolutionary journey given the influence of my father," the composer recalled.

Two years later, when Lyu was transferred to the arts troupe of the east China military region, he was provided with one of their several precious violins, which surprised him a lot. Afterwards, wherever he travelled with the army, he would always carry the musical instrument around with him and took it as one of his most beloved belongings.

Lyu started to work as a violin player in an opera orchestra under the Shanghai Film Studio following his decommissioning from the army in November 1949. As a violinist, his biggest dream was to compose by himself one day, rather than simply playing ready-made tunes.

Lyu's dream came true in 1951 when he was transferred to the news documentary team at the Beijing Film Studio, tapped to take part in film music composition. In a bid to master all the skills of this trade, Lyu systematically completed all of the undergraduate courses for composition majors at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music within five years.

The then 26-year-old young man went on to exhibit his composition talents when a debate arose in 1956 about how best to write the interlude for the popular Chinese movie, “The Railway Guerrillas”, having come up with the idea of utilizing a Pipa, a traditional Chinese musical instrument, so as to add emphasis to the film’s musical theme.

"During the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the War of Liberation, I met many guerrillas, all of whom were ordinary people. In my opinion, it was only reasonable to write songs with a strong local style and adopt the tunes of the Pipa for the movie," the composer explained, believing that all artistic creations should be originated from folk life.

In 1965, when Lyu was commissioned to compose China's first red-flag-themed musical work, which was due to be premiered during the Shanghai Spring festival, the longest lived music festival in the country, he was full of inspiration while working on the project and finished the solemn task only within seven days.

In the widely-popular musical work entitled Ode to the Red Flag, Lyu portrayed the exciting scene when the national flag was first raised at Tian'anmen Square during the founding of the country in 1949. In fact, during the creation, Lyu recalled the scenes where many people sacrificed their lives for that to happen and the piece pays tribute to those revolutionary martyrs.

"All my works are filled with my deep affection for the Party, the motherland and the people. Only when such works echo the feelings of the audiences, can they be understood, spread, and retained," the composer explained.

Lyu has been using composition to express his love for his motherland all his life. "I am now 91 years old. Looking back, I have done only one thing in my entire life, that is, to practice the oath I took when I joined the Party with my composition," revealed the veteran artist.

(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Liang Jun)


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