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the Arrangements PHOON YEW TIEN
years, I have always had the urge to arrange some of my favorite old songs for orchestra
and have them recorded. Due to various reasons, it hasn't happened until now. Having
finally started arranging, I was elated.
many old songs are almost complete in musical forms, filled with inspiration and
lingering charm. What is hardest to replace is the essence of the era. Then why
arrange? Having listened to old songs for a long time, I realised that they
have emotional sincerity, and a skilfully and carefully written melody. The harmony
(which may be written by another person) is often thoughtful and intelligent.
Recently, in those early days, these recordings were limited by the uneven standard
of the musicians. On careful listening, many hidden qualities of the piece
could further be enhanced, for example: the vocals ought to be the most
beautiful aspect of the song. Anyway, it's too late - even if the original
singer can be located - to recreate those years. Still, we may be able to do
something today. Also, there is another important reason: my personal deep interest
in these songs and in arranging them.
decided to have a go at it.
arranging, I used different approaches to the different styles of the songs,
but the overall basic philosophy is to maintain the spirit of the original
song, if possible. Yet, it is only a possibility because it is impossible to
recreate the effects of the original recordings, especially when I arranged
these songs for symphony orchestra. In addition, some of the original arrangements
were not very good or even had errors (or had faulty playing. That, of course, can't
be copied blindly. In any case, I still preserved all the periodic and
personality details. I got very nostalgic, even though it was unprofessional of
me to do so. Old songs are themselves an embodiment of memories. If you're
familiar with old songs, when you listen to these arrangements, it'll be easier
to empathise and feel that some of the details are duplicated. This is the
ambition of my efforts.
other hand, when I am arranging the music, I didn't consult the score other
than for the lyrics. These songs hove long been in my heart. But to be on the
safe side, I listened carefully to the original recordings as carefully as
possible to confirm the harmony and instrumentation, hoping not to miss
anything important. Overall, I remained faithful to the original songs, and
these songs will not need new inspiration and creativity. If you felt a little "nostalgic
familiarity", then you make me feel very happy.
music is now symphonic Ifor symphony orchestral, there were considerations of
orchestration. Also, I was forced to improvise especially when the original
recordings could not be found. The resultant work that you hear is a synthesis
of my memory with my own ideas.
intentions behind these are for you, the listener - a means of enjoyment. At
the thought of this, I must thank Yellow River for their understanding and broad-mindedness.
OF A ROSE
say I am like a rose swaying in the soft breeze of spring. If I am the rose you
are the breeze - and my swaying is for you!” A popular song in the 50s, this
was Grace Chang's signature tune. The arranger has used a quicker tempo and it
is now a dance song.
can't forget your wrongs, 1 can't forget your goodness ... the walks in the
rain, the embrace in the cold winds." The theme from the movie,
"Endless Love" was sung by Ku Mei. The song tells of the love-hate
relationship between lovers. It won the Best Sound track Award in the 1962 Asia
beauty of girls at eighteen, with their big eyes and lovely brows. Bright pink lips
framing two rows of pearly white teeth, the radiant beauty just like the
glowing of the setting sun." A lively tune, it depicts joy at the bloom of
the bleak days of March, the Azalea blooms on the hillside and beside the river
streams, its beauty reminds one of the pretty village maiden." Another
popular song, this had been sung by many singers. However, none could match Ku
Mei's rendition for her depth of feelings.
AFTER THREE YEARS
sweetness of re-union after three long years separation is amply portrayed
here. A Chou Hsuan song, the song seems mirror her tragic life.
glow of spring showers on blooming flowers; the brilliant colours of leaves and
flowers has given us a new lease of life. Inseparable feelings linger, our love
for each other, the turbulence of love is a mystery, enhanced by the presence
of spring. The turbulence of love is a mystery, captivated by the presence of Spring"
This song was composed by the renowned Yao Min, who is still fondly regarded.
tenderness that resembles the spring water flowing towards you. Did you sense its
presence? You shadow has penetrated into my heart, your every single word and
thought had never failed to linger. I always wished for a night to reveal my
feelings for you, to dampen your mood" This song by Chou Hsuon from a film
is filled with tenderness and sadness.
am I crying for you -don't you understand. It' because of love. Only lover's
tears are the most precious, each drop is filled with love." This song by
Pan Siew Chiong generates lots of nostalgic memory. You will be touched by the
lyrical cello's deep warm tone.
This is a
sentimental song which encompasses the beauty of the pasture, and the warm feelings
of a girl. This song shows the shepherd girl on a hill top with sheep facing
the pasture, looking at the beautiful scenery, dreaming of her faraway lover.
This familiar song will remind you of another song "At That Faraway
family is harmonious, peaceful like paradise. You are a lucky flower, blooming
in the breeze of spring. Bless you little child, bless you that you grow up
happily. "This song is sung by Kong Chiu Xia. The melody is soothing an
beautiful. Towards the end of the song, the piano plays the melody of the
flowers blooming everywhere, seen from far and near. With a stalk in front, its
becomes obvious, Everybody loves peach flowers, its fragrance is loved by all,
with a wreath of peach flowers on your head, your love for it is eternal"
This is one of the theme songs from a movie, and the singer is Yao Li. This
lively song has a relaxed feel, praising the beauty of the peach flowers.
little schoolboy heads for school with his bag on his back, braving the
scorching sun and the thunderstorm, only fearing his teacher scolding him for
being lazy, feeling ashamed of facing his parents without acquiring any
knowledge. "The singer of this familiar song is Liang Ping, lyrics by Song
Yang in early 1945.
ARE YOU, MOTHER?
flock of swallows come and go, covering millions of miles, have you ever
observed them cleary? My swallow, have you news of my mother? The vagueness of
my childhood is just like a dream, but the tenderness of my mother is very clear"
One of the theme songs of a movie, it is an emotional song in triple time, sung
by Ku Mei. This song shows the longing for the far away mother.
clear moon in the sky, I use it as my mirror. Every quiet night that arrives,
reflects my beauty and youth. Brother, you think I am too young, but love you
more than your wife. Whenever one listens to this melody that expresses the
bitterness of a woman unlucky in love, one will think of the singer Wu Ying Yin's
bright but nasal voice. The accompaniment of this song has a strict pattern.
The woodwinds play the fast second theme, making the song sound playful.
was named "Night in Nandu" by Xu Shi in the 40s. It later became one
of the theme songs from the movie "Air Stewardess". I love a
wonderful place called Taiwan, sing a song of Taiwan, with its long winding
coastline, mountainous inland, with the forest by the hillside which is a
treasure. With good roads and rail lines, the beautiful scenery of the Pacific
Ocean, Taiwan is indeed an island of treasures." This fast-paced song is
like travelling in a car admiring the beautiful scenery of Taiwan.
the Head of Music at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Phoon began his composition
studies in the seventies with Leong Yoon Pin. In 1980, he was offered a
scholar-ship by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra to pursue his musical training
in the Queensland Conservatorium in Australia. Within four years, Phoon
graduated with a degree in Music Composition and a degree in Music Instrumental
(Flute) simultaneously. While in Australia, he had studied composition under
Elaine Dobson, Alen Lane and Karl Vine and the flute under David Cabbin,
Geoffrey Collins and Louise Dellit.
and imaginative composition skills may be testified by the string of awards
received, including the distinguished awards in "Our Songs" Writing
Competition (1977), Nanyang University Song Writing Competition (1978) and
"Song for Workers" Writing Competition (1978). In Australia, he was
thrice awarded the prestigious Dulcie Robertson Prize for composition in the
years 1980, 1981 and 1983. In 1984, his composition, "Autumn" won him
the Yoshiro Irino Memorial Prize by the Asian Composer's Society.
to receiving commissions from the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Singapore
Youth Orchestra and the People's Association Chinese Orchestra, Phoon has been
approached annually by the Hwa Chong Junior College Chinese Orchestra from 1981
to 1991 to write for the college's yearly public concert. His works are also
regularly featured in the "New Music Forum" - the platform for
collaborated with various dance and drama groups and Singaporean artists such
as Tan Swie Hian, Kuo Pao Kun, Goh Lay Kuan and Lim Fei Shen. Many of these
works were performed in the Singapore Festival of Arts, Festival of Dance and
the ASEAN Arts Festival. Outside home, Phoon's work have been performed by
various orchestras in Hong Kong, Taiwan, England, New Zealand, Japan,
Australia, France and Italy.
established himself as possibly the most promising and imaginative composer of
his generation. His music successfully combines a basically Chinese idiom with
contemporary techniques and styles. It is often transparent and spare in
texture, making effective and use of tone colour.
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