Lu Siqing: The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto

Classic FM Album of the Week, 29 June 2015.

The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto is one of the best-loved classical compositions in China, as well as being the one Chinese work that is probably most often heard in Western concert halls. In the piece’s homeland, the solo part is often transcribed for a traditional stringed instrument but here it's the orchestral part that has been arranged for Chinese traditional orchestra, instead. The album is the sixth in a series which features Western solo instruments against the thrilling soundscapes of the Chinese traditional orchestra.

On first listening, the concerto appears technically to be not very demanding - but it does require the soloist to navigate awkward chords and fingerings and keep the intonation perfectly level. The eminent violinist Lu Siqing is no stranger to the piece, having performed it all over the world, and he gives it a beautiful rendition here – on a Western violin, with the support of the Taipei Chinese Orchestra conducted by Chung Yiu-Kwong. 

Lu Siqing is equally proficient on the other pieces collected on the album – by such Western luminaries as Sarasate, Kreisler and Tchaikovsky –whose works have never sounded quite like they do here.