Jill Pasternak speaks with the world-famous violinist about his recording of The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto, an orchestral adaptation of a popular Chinese legend.
Written in 1959 by composers Chen Gang and He Zhanhao while they were students at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto premiered in the same year featuring renowned violinist Yu Lina. Although instantly popular, the concerto was banned by the Communist regime during the Cultural Revolution and the composers were jailed.
An operatic interpretation of The Butterfly Lovers will be performed in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic festivities.
The story resembles a Romeo and Juliet tale. But it's also about reincarnation as the lovers become butterflies.
Hear Gil Shaham tell the story of the piece, his first encounter with the music, and his views on how The Butterfly Lovers transcends politics.