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Music show commemorates life of noted VN composer

Update: November, 13/2013 - 10:30
Great mind: A portrait of noted composer Van Cao by photographer Nguyen Dinh Toan

HA NOI (VNS)— Music by Van Cao (1923-95), one of Viet Nam's greatest contemporary composers, will be performed in downtown Ha Noi on November 22.

Co-organised by the Viet Nam Musicians' Association and the composer's family, the concert celebrates what would be Cao's 90th birthday (15/11/1923).

Leading singers including Quang Tho, Anh Tuyet, Dang Duong and Lan Anh will perform a selection of the composer's work, including two never-before published songs.

The original version of Tien Quan Ca (Marching Song), chosen by President Ho Chi Minh to be the national anthem and edited by the National Assembly in 1955, will be performed by a choir for the first time.

The show will start at 8pm at the Ha Noi Friendship Culture Palace, 91 Tran Hung Dao Street. Tickets ranging from VND500,000 (US$24) to 2 million are available at the venue.

Born Nguyen Van Cao in the northern coastal city of Hai Phong, the artist initially composed romantic ballads like Thu Co Lieu (Lonely Autumn), Suoi Mo (Dream Spring) and Cung Dan Xua (Old Melody).

In 1942, he started to follow the revolutionary movement and composed patriotic marching songs, followed by songs like Truong Ca Song Lo (Epic Lo River), Lang Toi (My Village), Ngay Mua (Harvest Day) and Tien Ve Ha Noi (Marching to Ha Noi), which reflected how enthusiastic Vietnamese people were to fight the French invaders.

Earlier this month, the Viet Nam Writers' Association published a poetry collection by Van Cao and organised a workshop on the book.

At an exhibition titled Van Cao of 18 Years Ago, those who were too young to be familiar with the artist can see 27 photos of Van Cao and his friends by photographer Nguyen Dinh Toan. The exhibit will be held at Vietnamese Culture Space, 16 Le Thai To Street from November 15-17.

Toan, who works at Xua & Nay (Then & Now) magazine, specialises in taking photos of celebrities. He started taking photos of the composer in 1987.

"I went to his house every day between 9am and 3pm," Toan recalls. "He never asked to see the photos, just sat silently, thought deeply and drank wine while I worked."— VNS

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