Moon Reflected on Second Spring二泉映月


Chinese Name: 二泉映月

English Name: Moon reflected on Second Spring / Er Quan Ying Yue

Composer: Abing 阿炳(华彦钧)

“Moon reflected on Second Spring” is one of the best known Chinese music inside and outside China, Representative works of Chinese folk blind musician Abing, When you talk about Chinese music, firstly you talk about Erhu (so-called Chinese Violin); when you talk about Erhu, firstly you talk about “Moon reflected on Second Spring”.

About the Composer Abing

Abing (1893-1950), formerly named as Hua Yanjun, is a folk musician. Born in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, he is a righteous Taoist. He once became a street artist, suffered a lot, and became blind due to eye diseases. He has assiduously studied Taoist music, kept improving, and widely absorbed the tunes of folk music. He has created and played more than 270 folk music in his life.

Abing was a musical genius. By the age of 16, he had learned all the Sanskrit gongs and drums in Taoist music.

Why was he so skillful that he became blind and lost his source of livelihood? The truth of the matter is as follows: Although ah Bing’s father was very strict with him, ah Bing was obstinate by nature and his private life was chaotic. He became blind because he contracted syphilis when he was in his 20s.

Later, he contracted the bad habit of smoking opium. After his father died in his 30s, the incense money in the temple was difficult to maintain the huge expenditure of smoking opium, and no one was willing to ask him to do work, so his life suddenly fell to the bottom.

The life at the bottom made him experience the hardships of the world and the bitterness and humiliation of the old society. However, Abing, with outstanding talent, often expressed his love and hatred by playing Erhu, playing Pipa, and telling the news, and exposed the darkness at that time through music. He reflected his feelings about the painful life through music and produced the famous Erhu song “Moon reflected on Second Spring”.

Moon Reflected on Second Spring二泉映月

Composition Background of Moon reflected on Second Spring

“Moon reflected on Second Spring” is a portrayal of Abing’s life and a handed down work of his emotional catharsis. Abing uses his creative talent to turn what he sees, hears, feels and wants into exciting and tearful notes, so that the audience can resonate in the melody. This erhu is loved by the world and cited as a classic. It is a success of Abing’s creation and the embodiment of his creative talent.

In 1950, Professor Yang Yinliu and Cao Anhe of the Central Conservatory of Music made a special trip to Wuxi to record Abing’s performance.

Mr. Yang Yinliu, also from Wuxi, is the founder of Chinese ethnomusicology and an old friend of Abing.

Moon Reflected on Second Spring二泉映月
Yang Yinliu

The recording place was set at Sansheng Pavilion in Wuxi. Mr. Yang learned the playing of some tunes of Sanxian and Pipa from Abing in his early years, so they met very cordially. After a short chat, the two began the most important “field interview” in the first half of the 20th century.

Six pieces of music were recorded this time, including three Erhu music, This is also the only six works that Abing has left in the world, because he died in December of that year after recording.

Origin of the Music Name

Although Abing has played Er Quan Ying Yue many times, this song has never had a name. After recording this song, Mr. Yang asked, “where do you often play?” Abing said, “I often play in the street and beside Huishan Spring.”

Huishan Spring is called “the second spring in the world (天下第二泉)”, Mr. Yang blurted out, “how about called Er Quan二泉(Second Spring)!” Abing said: “Er Quan doesn’t look like a complete name. There is a song” three pools imprinting the moon(三潭印月) “in Cantonese opera, and this one is called” Er Quan imprinting the moon(二泉印月), “Mr. Yang said:” the word “Yin(印)” is copied, which is not good enough. We have a Yingshan River(映山河) in Wuxi, so we’ll call it “Er Quan Ying Yue(二泉映月)” Abing nodded and agreed. In this way, the name was set.

An Orchestra version by China Central National Orchestra (CCNO)

Review of Moon reflected on Second Spring

After listening to ” Moon reflected on Second Spring ” in Shanghai in the early 1950s, Chairman Mao Zedong commented: “it has a strong folk flavor, which is very good and should be carried forward.” Premier Zhou Enlai also appreciated the music and instructed relevant departments to make special records and give them to visiting international friends as precious gifts.

“I should kneel down to listen to it!” — Ozawa Seiji,  Japanese Conductor

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