China has had a fairly turbulent history as a nation. From being the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world for some time until the 1800s, the country then had a series of unfortunate events that has been named “the century of humiliation” from the loss of the First Opium War in 1842, until the Chinese Communist Party won the Chinese Civil War in 1949. After that proceeded The Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution that took China backwards until Chairman Mao died in 1976. After his passing, China completely changed direction from around 1978 onwards, implementing a large series of market-based reforms to become the most powerful nation in the world after the United States of America today. History repeats itself because people don’t learn from history. In any case, this is a historic album, no matter if you support the political ideology of China or not. Therefore, it is essential to listen, so let’s hear it. This is a compilation effort done by many orchestral artists based in China.
We begin with the National Anthem Of The People’s Republic Of China which begins with a lone trumpet part, before launching into a beautiful piece that sums up recent Chinese history. It is a short and sweet piece that has some orchestral backing and nice singing and only goes for a minute long. It’s essential listening though for anyone who is a history buff. Good stuff.
Following is the National Anthem Of The People’s Republic Of China (Military Band Version-No Repeat), a shorter piece with marching military drums in it. In any case, it is a brief and enjoyable listen that is a short reminder of one of the greatest powers in the world. Nice.
National Anthem Of The People’s Republic Of China (Military Band Version-Repeat Once) follows, and is very much more of the same, although this time it is a repeat piece. Nonetheless, it is a good instrumental that captures the history of one of the most powerful armies in the world. A short and interesting listen.
National Anthem Of The People’s Republic Of China (Orchestral Version-No Repeat) is a slightly different version of the Chinese National Anthem with a more pronounced string section to listen to here. It’s good, once again and very brief. Nice to listen to.
The last of the National Anthem pieces is the National Anthem Of The People’s Republic Of China (Orchestral Version-Repeat Once) which is another short piece of string and melody based interpretation of the Chinese national anthem. It is a really nice sounding version here and is a good listen nonetheless. Interesting listening.
Following is the Internationale which is a rather glorious and deeply emotionally delivered piece of music. It sounds loud and dramatic, showcasing China as a land full of rich history and culture. This is a great and powerful piece of music with singing that just sounds very good. Nice to hear a taste of Chinese recent history set to music, this is a simple, interesting and beautiful piece of artistry that really does sound excellent. The horns and string sections on this piece are quite dramatic, looking towards a future where China is strong and powerful. Great music, and worth hearing if you dig military historical listening. A very solid piece of musical history, this is unique. A very interesting piece of music. Good to hear.
The East Is Red is a famous Chinese song. It begins with thunderous drum rolls, a glorious sounding horn section and a deeply emotional performance. This has a load of gorgeous instrumental playing, before some gorgeous choir vocals which are singing about a culture and world that is completely different to anything in the Western World today. It is actually a very gorgeous tune, despite the political stigma attached to it. A bold and interesting listening experience, this is definitely a lively and joyful tune to hear. In the second half, choirs and loud trumpets paint the picture nicely for all to hear. A great piece of melodramatic culture, this is worth hearing as a historical note. It has a loud and exciting ending, good stuff.
My Motherland is another classic Chinese culture piece of music. It has a solo female vocal that is rather beautiful that sounds really excellent and wonderful, backing with a lovely orchestral section. After some time, the choir enters and this piece really gets going. This is another lively and dramatic piece of music that is very timeless and important in Chinese musical history. The lone female vocal performance is the real star on this song, and it plays tag-team with the choir that sings nicely. It is a little bit strange to see this sort of traditional Chinese music in an orchestral musical setting, but nonetheless, is a very good listen. Very much a great and grand listen, definitely worth hearing. It has a dramatic finish with the choir and orchestra combined, a very good listen.
Up next is Nan Ni Bay (arr. X. Zhu): Nanni Bay which begins with harp and eastern string melodies from the orchestra. A lone solo female Chinese vocal emerges, it does sound really nice to listen to. This is a really wonderful and interesting listen straight from China, and sounds like a powerful and moving statement straight from the far east. A female choir section enters in the second half, before both the local feamel vocalist and the choir sing together to finish. Very nice.
Following is The North Wind Is Blowing which begins with Chinese music adapted for a western style orchestra. This sounds very good indeed, with a lone wind instrument part playing nicely. Before long, this song begins properly and sounds really brilliant. This is no doubt a traditional Chinese music piece adapted very nicely for this album. A very beautiful and interesting listen, this really does sound good. In the second half, a different section emerges after a brief pause, which cements this song’s reputation. It finishes beautifully.
The Full Moon comes along next. It begins with some lovely string section melodies, before the lone female singer begins singing away very well with an orchestra backing. This is really beautiful and accessible to both eastern and western audiences. A really interesting and wonderful listening experience, it progresses nicely through to a choir which sings quite well as an accompanying section. A really excellent and listenable piece of dynamic and great culture, there is so much energy, passion and emotion in these recordings. This isn’t merely military propaganda, this is history. A really lively, lovely and pretty sounding piece of music, this is a good one to sway one’s mood. Excellent music.
The Banners Are Fluttering is a medieval sounding piece that has choir vocals and different sections that sound really cool and excellent. It is a nice piece, although more of a propaganda moment than anything else, to be fair. It’s still relatively good to listen to, just different. The choir sections are really differing and decent in impact, showing a different side to this album. Short at three minutes long, this is one of the less dramatic pieces on this album. It’s good, but not the best.
Next along is The Spraying Hung Hu which is a four minute long piece that begins with beautiful harp, string sections and other gorgeous instrumentation that sounds really great. It does sound very gentle and lovely, and is a nice listening experience. A lone female singer enters this piece again to full effect. In any case, this piece of music is very legendary and pretty as well. A combination of duel duet vocals, brilliant melodies and string instrumentation make this a real winner. This is a very pretty piece of music. Towards the end, choirs erupt into glory, along with the string sections on this piece. A very pretty and lovely sounding piece, this is a winner. Nice tune.
Last track on this album is In Praise Of Our Motherland which has trumpets, orchestral sections and choir based singing. A very lovely and interesting listening experience, this is a good and positive sounding piece of music that is pure Chinese. It sounds sound upbeat and joyful, although it is likely a piece of Communist based music. Still, for what it is, it does sound really awesome. Interesting sections and celebratory melodies are plentiful here, this is a really excellent piece to hear from time to time. A good listen for when the mood strikes, refreshing to hear. It ends with a loud climax, nice.
To be fair, a lot of the music here is China Communist Party propaganda music (in case you hate Communism of any sort) and is very political. However, it is all very nicely put together and written, and is an essential part of history, if you think about the songs here and why they were made. Classics such as the Chinese National Anthem and The East Is Red should be known to anyone who takes an interest in China or Asian history. This is a good album that has its place in history and your collection. It’s highly political, however, so if you don’t like that about this album, avoid.
Glorious and passionate.
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