A choral symphony paying tribute to the core spirit of Confucianism has been performed in Hong Kong, as the opening show of the Hong Kong Shenzhen Creative Art Festival. It's a musical presentation of a philosophy believed to have influenced the values of Chinese people for some 2,500 years. We take a look.
"Ode to Humanity", a symphonic work that debuted in 2011, aims to present the main concepts of Confucianism through melodies and lyrics. In five chapters, the work celebrates five cornerstones of Confucianism, which are benevolence, righteousness, etiquette, wisdom and integrity.
The work was performed to celebrate World Peace Day at the UNESCO Paris headquarters in 2013, to tremendous acclaim. After its Hong Kong gig, it will head to Taiwan. The show is the brainchild of Wang Jingsheng, a senior official of Shenzhen's municipal government. He believes these traditional moral standards are a source of national pride, which can be shared by the people of Taiwan.
"I hope the piece will strike a chord with Taiwan audiences. Together with us, they will review some basic moral values of Chinese people, which have been passed down for thousands of years," said Wang Jingsheng, publicity chief of CPC Shenzhen Municipal Committee.
The symphony will debut in Taipei on August 8th, then in Taichung and Kaohsiung on the 12th and 15th. The performances will be paired with forums in Taipei, where scholars and experts will discuss Confucianism with the piece's creators.
"We hope our trip to Taiwan will harvest valuable thoughts and emotions revolving around the piece. There's a long way to go for us to perfect the work, for it to be a real classic," Wang said.
Six years in the making, "Ode to Humanity" was composed by Wang Ning, who visited Qufu, Confucius' hometown six times to seek inspiration. Some foreign musicians have also lent talent to the work, adding to its international appeal.