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Pham Tuyen's works honoured in concert

Update: July, 07/2007 - 00:00

Pham Tuyen’s works honoured in concert

(07-07-2007)

by Thanh Ha

The Piano Man: Pham Tuyen tries out a new melody on his piano. — VNS Photo Viet Thanh

A concert to honour the works of veteran, composer and symbol of national pride Pham Tuyen is to take the stage at the Ha Noi Opera House tonight.

Nhung Cung Bac Thoi Gian, organised by the Ha Noi Union for Literature and Arts, and the Ha Noi Music Association, is being held in recognition of Tuyen’s long career which has absorbed the suffering of his people in events of the 20th century and in turn reflects their pride and determination.

The performance will also celebrate the composer’s 77th birthday.

A choice selection of Tuyen’s most famous pieces from the 1950s to the present day will be performed by Voice of Viet Nam Radio ‘s Band and The Thang Long Dance and Music Theatre amongst others plus renowned singers.

These works include Mien Nam Anh Dung va Bat Khuat (Heroic, Undaunted South), Ha Noi-Dien Bien Phu, Chiec Gay Truong Son (Truong Son Walking Stick), Canh En Tuoi Tho (The Swift Flight of Childhood) and Nhu Co Bac Ho Trong Ngay Vui Dai Thang (As If Uncle Ho Was still with Us on the Day of Great Victory).

In his music, inspiration for Tuyen has evolved with the changes undergone by his country.

His early work relives Viet Nam’s experience during the nation’s resistance wars, particularly the American War.

In response to the South’s fierce struggle against the US, he wrote the philharmonic piece Heroic, Undaunted South and when north Viet Nam sent its first supporting troops to the south he wrote Truong Son Walking Stick.

His music served to stir the hearts of the soldiers as they prepared for battle, said war veteran Nguyen Van Lan.

"Tuyen’s songs encouraged soldiers across the nation including thousands of youths who volunteered to join the army and they (the songs) gave us strength to overcome our difficulties to sacrifice ourselves for national independence and freedom," Lan recalled.

One of his most poignant pieces, Ha Noi-Dien Bien Phu, captured the 12 days and nights of brutal air raids that the US rained down on the capital in December 1972. Much of the city was destroyed including parts of Tuyen’s house and his piano.

The song, also known by the nickname "Dien Bien Phu of the Air", compares the heroism of the people during the bombing with the famous Dien Bien Phu battle that the country won over the French in 1954.

When war with the US finally came to an end and Sai Gon, now HCM City, was liberated in 1975, Tuyen wrote As If Uncle Ho Was still with Us on the Day of Great Victory. The song is now often sung at public meetings as a show of patriotism and football matches to encourage the national football squad.

"It is as if the song helped show the sacred feelings of every Vietnamese in the country," said Lan.

Following national reunification in 1975, Tuyen’s work was inspired with the hope of improving day-to-day life of ordinary people. Among his best known pieces are Tu Mot Nga Tu Duong Pho (From a City Intersection) which he wrote to promote traffic safety and Den Voi Nhau Bang Tam Long Vang (Come Together with a Kind Heart) to praise charity work.

It’s a path that mirrors the Government’s poverty reduction and hunger eradication programme.

And the songs certainly seem to be serving their purpose as a charity fund raiser, Hoang Thi Phuong from Hai Ba Trung District, commented: "When we go to raise money for support the poor, we often sing the song together. It encourages people to help each other very much."

But Tuyen doesn’t just have an ear for charity and national development. He has also written many songs for children, which have proved very popular because of their catchy melodies.

"The secret of writing songs for children is that I try to understand them and try to say the things that they wish to say," said Tuyen.

In 1997, he published a collection of 100 songs dedicated to childhood entitled The Swift Flight of Childhood. It has been warmly welcomed by children nationwide.

During his long career Tuyen has composed thousands of songs including translations of Russians, Japanese and Italians pieces.

His is a life that has encouraged, reassured, and inspired countless people over the past 50 years, an achievement recognised by the Ministry of Culture and Information.

"The prominent characteristics of Tuyen’s songs is that they carry the author’s fresh and trusted sentiment along with images of his country that easily win people’s heart," an official said.

For his contribution to the country, he was honoured with the Labour Order, Third Class.

Tickets for the concert are being issued as invitation only but for those who can’t get their hands on one, Nhung Cung Bac Thoi Gian is to be broadcast live on VTV3.

For further information contact the Ha Noi Music Association. — VNS

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