This seems to be the most romantic month of the year…

Saint Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated throughout the world. On this traditional and special day, lovers express their loves for each other with cards, gifts or romantic dinners. In modern practices, many best friends begin to send Valentine’s Day wishes on this day too. It is thus also known as a day to share and honour loves.
The Lunar Chinese calendar determines Chinese New Year dates. In the Gregorian calendar, Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year, a date between January 21 and February 20.

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring festival, is a major celebration for all Chinese around the world. It is the celebration of the beginning of a new Lunar Chinese year. It traditionally begins on the 1st day of the first lunar month, and ends on the 15th.

The 12 animals in the Chinese horoscope are closely associated with the Chinese New Year. Each animal represents one year, it moves in sequence and in a cycle - begins with the ‘Rat’ and ends with the ‘Pig’. Then the whole cycle repeats itself again. In short, each Chinese calendar year has an animal that is repeated every 12 years. 2010 is the Chinese year of Tiger.

the year of 2010, Chinese Lunar New Year coincidentally falls on the same day as Saint Valentine’s Day, on the 14 February 2010.

In this rare romantic month of east meets west, we had picked two charming melodies from the most enchanted fairy tales, Romeo and Juliet,
Shakespeare’s saddest love tragedy with Prokofiev’s most glamorous melodies; Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto, a fascinating violin concerto co-written by two students of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Chen Gang and He Zhanhao in 1958.

Chinese Music is classified into two different catergories - traditional music and folk music.

How does Chinese traditional music differ from Chinese Folk music?

Do you know Chinese Music can in fact be very functional?

In the past, they were often played to close friends, families and students. For some occasions, they were even played to discover friends or lovers.

Many composers of the classical and Romantic eras wrote intensely personal music. Franz Schubert and Frederic Chopin were two of the most recognised and popular Romantic composers – both had written a massive output of extravagant and fascinating melodies in their short musical career. They both died in their thirties, Schubert at 31, and Chopin at 39.

Throughout Schubert's short life, he constantly met with similar difficulty in obtaining official support, and it eventually made him very unwilling to pursue it. His friends often commented about his stubborness, squandering many opportunities that were put his way.

Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828)

Schubert composed his first symphony when he was 16.
At 19, he composed his famous fifth symphony.   

However, he was perhaps, in a way, compensated by having a group of fiercely loyal friends who formed an important chapter in his life, offering timely help and support to him, both as a person and as a musician.

“There is no man in the world as wretched and unhappy as I”. That was what Schubert wrote
in the early part of 1823, when he was struggling to recover to a stable health after receiving painful mercury treatment for his syphilis. His illness had caused him much despair. Yet despite his ill health, he wrote non-stop; In his darkest mood, Schubert wrote one of his last compositions, Winterriese, who shook many of his friends. Read about his styles and influence on other composers.

Frederic Chopin, who was born on 22 February 1810, is due to celebrate his 200th centenary birthday this year. A happy 200th birthday to Chopin!!!

A most romantic Valentine’s Day & a most roaring and prosperous Chinese New Year to all of us!

Shakespeare’s classic play of “Romeo and Juliet” is often said to be sentimentally equivalent to the story of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, abbreviated as “LiangZhu”.

Both stories featured a pair of star-crossed lovers driven to destructions, and could only attain blissful unity after their death.

The story of Liang Zhu had been widely staged and filmed since 1950s. Read about the enchanting story behind the ravishing melodies.

The story had also inspired the production of Butterfuly Lovers’ Violin Concerto. It was composed by Chen Gang and He Zhanhao in 1958. This piece has been the most musically symbolic retelling of the legend.

The plays of William Shakespeare have inspired more composers than writers in the history. Romeo and Juliet, being the simplest yet the saddest love story, was one of Shakespeare’s most popular play during his lifetime.

Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet is the best-known ballet. It was originally commissioned by the Kirov Ballet. Prokofiev had originally suggested a happy ending but was rejected, so the tragic ending was restored. Learn more about the tragic story of Romeo and Juliet.

~Written by Boon Sin Ler