Xixian Qu: Pastoral Song

This is day 17 of the A-toZ Challenge in which I attempt to blog every day (excepting Sundays) during the month of April. During this month, I am curating a collection of “classical” music pieces, which are lesser known or by lesser known composers (to me at least).  Today’s composer is Xixian Qu (1919 – 2008).

Wikipedia has scant information about Xixian Qu.  She was born in Shanghai and graduated from the Conservatory of Music there in 1948, right before the Chinese Revolution.  She published 53 works, including this Pastoral song for chorus.

The Chinese Wikipedia entry on her here, paints a more complete, if garbled, picture.  She  was a member of the communist party and composed many patriotic and inspirational songs that became the soundtrack, it appears, to the revolution.

The Chinese Wikipedia article, must be a machine translation of the original Chinese as it is such a bad translation.  From the entry on Qu, we learn:  “Since 60 time, Qu Xixian also has Film “Song of youth” , ” Red flag “,” death of the marshal “,” camel Xiangzi “and other music.”  About the “Pastoral Song” the entry tells us:  “One day in 1954, the composer An Bo Came to Qu Xixian home, Qu Xixian took out the “Eastern Mongolian Folk Songs”, want to pick up a few song to listen to. Didn’t think they were singing from start to end, completely engrossed in prairie style in the song, at the end of each circle the three first considered to be the most beautiful, There is a song Was marked by a circle of two, this is the “pastoral”.

That means she based this piece on a few Inner Mongolian folk songs.  The translation below the transliterated text, is bucolic if not downright pastoral.

The entry on her death is heartrendingly sad as she died with no family nearby, but the translation gets in the way:

“From lung cancer in March 19, 2008 China-Japan Friendship Hospital Senior cadres ward died, at the age of 89.
China-Japan Friendship Hospital Staff senior cadres ward told our reporter, Qu Xixian died of lung cancer late, died very sad, body In foreign countries Children are not in the side, only a nurse to take care of.”

It is indeed sad to die with your body in foreign countries.

Text in Chinese:

Cui lü di cao di shang pao zhe bai yang,
yang qun xiang zhen zhu sa zai lü rong shang.
Wu bian di cao yuan shi wo men di gu xiang,
bai yun he qing tian shi wo men di peng zhang.
Zao xia ying jie wo zi you di ge chang,
sheng huo shi zhe yang xing fu huan chang.

Emerald green on the pasture run white sheep
sheep like pearls spread on green velvet
Boundless pasture is our homeland
white clouds and blue sky are our tents
Morning glow welcomes me freely singing
live is such happy joyful
White sheep frolic on the emerald green pasture;
Like pearls upon a green carpet.
Boundless pasture is our homeland;
White clouds and blue sky are our tents.
The rosy dawn welcomes our carefree song;
Happiness and joy fill our lives.


About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

3 Responses to Xixian Qu: Pastoral Song

  1. kvennarad says:

    [Free rendering by MM, 19th April 2014]

    White sheep run as pearls
    from a broken necklace
    on an emerald velvet cloth.

    The endless grassland is our home,
    white clouds and blue sky our tents.

    A joyful song bursts from me
    at the sunshine’s welcome,
    so happy I am to be alive.

    It is as though the sheep
    were dancing on the pasture,
    like pearls spilled on a green carpet.

    The endless grassland is our home,
    white clouds and blue sky our tents.

    Dawn blushes to welcome
    our carefree song – how happy,
    how full of joy our lives are!


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