While Austria's Camerata Salzburg has been touring several Chinese cities since September 22, Mozart fever will continue on the land of China. In an exclusive interview with China.org.cn in late September, Professor Zhu Yibing, a man who has been promoting classic music tirelessly, told about the musical genius' reputation and works in China.
This year is the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth. There are many celebration and commemoration activities held in China, including concerts, seminars, music festivals and China Central Television's 48-episode TV special The Mozart Code.
"Is music just a sound? No! Music has colors, music has temperature, music has smells," said Zhu Yibing, a professor from Central Conservatory of Music, drawing from 30 years of musical study.
In his eyes, Mozart's music is longing for life's palette of colors. "Mozart is a wild kid inside noble clothes. If you think he's a calm, peaceful and graceful young man, you don't feel the temperature of his works. The temperature is not explicit. The clothes are most gorgeous, elegant and delicate, but the music sounds modern and strange. Mozart's play is simple, but demonstrates his feeling for beauty of life, nature, and the world. He is a spirit of endless power. He's like a sun in music history, way up there, so beautiful, and eternal. His music is filled with longings and passions for life, with his teenage, youth and adult years, with the way he lived his life, with the way he treated people, and with his various tricks. " Zhu said.
"Mozart is the greatest pop musician at his time 250 years ago. His music is so great that it could still be heard today. It's the essence selected by history. More and more people love his works, even Taiwan's pop group SHE started to sing Mozart." he laughed.
Zhu compared classical music to cuisine, where people have to sample different dishes to know their tastes and discover new ones. Often taking his students to classical concerts, Zhu uses his experiences to show that when an audience is slowly introduced to something new, interest will rise, while a too sudden confrontation to a huge music catalog will cause them to back away in fear.
"Mozart's symphonies are played most in China." Zhu told of Mozart’s status in music education, but he suggested that in the teaching process, people should feel more about the musician’s inner being through the chamber music. "Take piano teaching for example, people think his sonatina is easiest. Indeed, Mozart's style is easiest and clearest, but you may still play Mozart when you devote your whole life to music and become a master or a professional. The simplicity of his music is an insurmountable peak. It is the simplicity of his combination and passion for the beauty of arts, performance and music. The simple beauty is the purest beauty and the misunderstanding of his sonatina indicates that our music teachers do not understand Mozart enough, said Zhu.
Zhu's knowledge about music and musical education is unique as shown in his thoughts that "Chinese people's standard to measure arts is to see if one has great skills. But it's wrong. We have to feel the soul of Mozart and the whole Western classic music with our hearts. Chinese people work too hard, their skills have long surpassed those Western performers, however, we still have great gap. That is because we pay so much attention to skills and styles, but ignore the feelings.”
"If you don't feel it, you don't understand Mozart," he concluded.
(China.org.cn by Luo Xu and Zhang Rui, October 5, 2006)