Monday, February 09, 2009

Muo Li Hua: The Jasmine Flower

Tonight our dear foreign exchange student, Lu Lu Yao and her fellow students from Beijing High School #159 sang a beautiful traditional Chinese folksong, along with the Shasta Middle School Choir and the Young Men's Ensemble. (More about Lu's visit later.) It is called "The Jasmine Flower."

When they began it was immediately familiar to me, as the brief tune the children sing in the first scene of Turandot. Of course, Puccini puts his own stamp on it, but it is still charming:

Là sui monti dell'Est (Over on the Eastern Mountains)
la cicogna cantò. (the stork sang. )
Ma l'april non rifiorì, (But April did not bloom again,)
ma la neve non sgelò. (the snow did not thaw.)
Dal deserto al mar non odi tu (From the desert to the sea do you not hear)
mille voci sospirar: (a thousand voices whisper:)
"Principessa, scendi a me! (Princess, come to me!)
Tutto fiorirà, tutto splenderà!" (Everything will blossom, everything will shine!)

"Tutto fioria" indeed! Now if I can only learn it in Mandarin: "Muo Li Hua..."


(And if only I can learn how to download videos onto my blogs!)

This version has Song Zuying at the Kennedy Center.
This version is done by the Vienna Choir Boys.
And here is a more updated arrangement for harp, violin and cello.

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