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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Butterfly Lovers / Parting of the Newly Wedded
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$8.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on September 7, 2014
Bought this cd last year and still play it every week. Beautiful melodies and good fidelity. Something different from other classical music pieces already owned.
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on April 25, 2002
'The Butterfly Lovers' may be the most famous work in the Chinese classical canon, and its narrative may be derived from Chinese folklore, but there is very little Chinese about it. A conventional violin concerto from the softer Romantic spectrum (cf Bruch, Elgar), its broad melodies, spaces for virtuosic solo playing and orchestral development are overlaid with Chinese folk colour, in the same way a Hollywood film set in China might do. It is no more authentically Chinese than Massenet's 'Le Cid' is Spanish, or 'Madama Butterfly' is Japanese.
For the listener, this is a relief. Anyone who has seen 'Farewell My Concubine' will know that native Chinese music, to the uninitiated Western ear, sounds like a lunatic running amok in a kitchen, all clanging percussion and wailing stutters. 'Lovers' tells its love story in unabashed Western romantic colours that paint pictures and stir emotions - even its rhythmic passages are reassuringly familiar.
The other pieces on the CD follow the same pattern, all soupy, dreamy melancholy, all wonderfully touching, strongly evoking natural or communal worlds. Nishizaki is considered the leading interpreter of this music, but it is surely not because she is Asian, but because of her experience in the Romantic violin repertoire, from Beethoven to Brahms to Berg. What IS authentic about this recording is that she is accompanied by the orchestra and conduuctor who gave the piece's premiere in 1959.
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on April 24, 2004
'The Butterfly Lovers' violin concerto is NOT the best that Chinese music has to offer, despite being one of the most well-known works in the Chinese repertoire. This goes for any interpretation of this work by any conductor and orchestra, not just this one. The first and the last ten-minute sections of the music (the entire concerto is nearly thirty minutes long) are admittedly just exquisite, but the middle portion, which is supposed to depict the struggles of the heroine against her adversaries, is utterly ruined by the use of the wood clapper, an extremely crude Chinese instrument which should never have been admitted into the otherwise beautiful work. It's as if a large carbuncle were painted onto the nose of the Mona Lisa. The composers He Zhanhao and Chen Gang really should have known better. Much of Chinese music is actually genuinely beautiful, but there are also 'earsores' aplenty -- some of which have been unhappily incorporated into the concerto.
I wish to comment a little incidentally on the uncharitable characterization of Chinese music provided by one of the reviewers below, darragh o'donoghue, to the effect that native Chinese music sounds like 'a lunatic charging through a kitchen'. I really don't think such a comment is fair to Chinese music at all -- there is a great deal of authentic Chinese music that is quite as beautiful as anything by, say, Ralph Vaughan Williams. To make sweeping claims on the music of a cultural tradition on the basis of what one finds in a few films would be about as objective as, say, saying of Western music that it sounds like the screams of barbarians solely on the basis of listening to Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps. Or rap or heavy metal.
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on January 22, 1999
It is a Chinese folk song that relates two legendary lovers which is famous in the southern parts of China. It is very good and I would recommand it to anyone that is interest in Chinese music.
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on June 10, 2001
It's based on a Chinese Romeo and Juliette story and musically is a blend of East and West. I have purchased probably a half a dozen of this CD and given them as gifts--my favorite is as a wedding gift. I have never done this with any other musical piece.
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on February 2, 2003
This is the best Chinese music of all. Also the performer Takako Nishizaki is the top violin performer in Japan. She is also the best of all performers for "Butterfly Lovers". Highly recommended. If you have any thing connected to China or Chinese culture, this is one you must have and love.
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