As a classical music lover, you will definitely not be strange to Huang Mengla’s name.
The native “post-80s” Shanghai player, who studied under the famous violinist Yu Lina. In 2002, at the age of 22, he won the gold medal at the 49th Paganini International Violin Competition in one fell swoop and won the “Best Pug” Nini’s Capriccio Performance Award and “Commemorative Mario Rominelli Award” became the third Chinese to win the gold medal in this event after Lu Siqing and Huang Bin. For nearly two decades thereafter, this “Oriental Paganini” has always been active on the international classical music stage, using superb piano art to talk to the world.
“The violin is really difficult. Really, I think he is very difficult now. The biggest and most terrifying feature of the violin is to stay in the ‘playing state. I always practice and play the violin in awe. “Huang Mengla said,” I am often asked if you are a talented person? I replied that I don’t know. If you really want to talk about talent, it must be that I will ignore the voice next to me. For classical In terms of music or violin, life is really too short. There are so many works in the sea, so many beautiful things, I think time is really not enough, not enough to play, to learn, to feel. ”
In 2020, Huang Mengla officially entered his unforgettable year. This is a meaningful moment. 40 years old, 36 years of piano learning, 18 years of fame. How will he review and summarize the music road he has traveled over the years, how to view and evaluate the changes and development of the Chinese classical music market? What kind of musical taste does he have in daily life? We had such a dialogue with him-
Reporter: Since winning the gold medal in the Paganini International Violin Competition in 2002 and showing up now, nearly two decades later, what do you think is the biggest change?
Huang Mengla: My eyes opened slowly, and I saw more and more clearly what I could not see before. When you are young, you can easily feel those things that are tangible and technical. As I grow older, my understanding of the conceptual things, the inner world, and the emotional aspects will become more and more thorough, and these things are also reflected in my music. Music is to explain people’s emotions, or to speak more advanced, showing the general human nature. When you understand life more deeply and more thoroughly, your perception of music will be closer and more real.
There is another change. I used to study desperately and absorb desperately-not only in music, because the violin is Western art after all, and it also needs to complement a lot of things in culture, not only from the perspective of music-but now, in-depth learning, After fully understanding, I feel that human nature is interlinked. The performer is actually a narrator, conveying the composer’s intention. Although I am an Oriental and music works are Western, but in terms of understanding cultural works, there is actually no huge “partition”. In our way, we can also explain some things well. And we don’t need to deliberately add the so-called “Eastern elements”, nor do we deliberately turn ourselves into “banana people”, we must understand and behave like Westerners do. The charm of truly excellent works will not be limited to the author’s own national culture.
Reporter: As a very active musician in the international music scene, how do you view the development of the Chinese classical music market over the years?
Huang Mengla: After winning the gold prize in the Paganini International Violin Competition, I started to try some concerts with the goal of stepping on the professional playing stage. However, the domestic classical music market was not mature at that time, and learning the piano all the way from an early age never thought how to move from an ivory tower to society in the future. At that time, I painfully discovered that a professional solo musician, relying on up to ten performances a year, could not support himself at all. There is no demand, no audience, and no stage. At that time, there were not many professional concert halls in China. I performed in many “strange places”-sometimes, I watched movies in this cinema in the afternoon, and played on the same stage at night.
This motivated me to choose to study abroad. On the one hand, I felt that I really needed to learn more, on the other hand, because of the very mature market abroad. I stayed abroad for a long time. During this period, my music learning and performance development progressed synchronously. By the time I returned to China in 2011, the domestic music environment had changed dramatically, and the overall market environment for classical music had been greatly improved. . Moreover, not only is Beijing Shangguang, but Beijing Shangguang is the leader. The important thing is that the music market in the second and third tier cities is also developing. There are more and more people who love music. Many cities have established their own symphony orchestras Concert hall. With good hardware, you need good performance to fill. The performers and the music academies have all spurred up, and the music academy has also improved. The entire industry is booming. This is a virtuous circle, and the entire market has gradually been revitalized.
I really feel that I have caught up with the good times. Now, my performances in China account for 2/3 of my total performances, and I am even too lazy to run abroad (laughs). And through these years of study and performance experience abroad, I also feel very personally, how a country’s national strength affects how others view your eyes, and even the attitude of cooperating with you. As a Chinese, I feel lucky to be able to live in this era.
Reporter: Have you ever been interested in the “cross-border” contemporary art that many artists are trying now?
Huang Mengla: I am more conservative on this issue. The more perfect things are, the more self-contained the system is, and the more closed it is. If it is necessary to graft with other things, I think it is not special. Rather than “cross-border”, I may be more willing to put time on classical music itself. Of course, this market does require artists to try a variety of different things, not necessarily “cross-border”. The market’s requirement for our soloists is that you need to be both skilled and comprehensive, but once you pursue comprehensiveness, in some places that require specialization, there is bound to be no way to reach those who put all their energy on those things. The same height. This is a contradiction.
In fact, I sometimes reflect on my point of view. Does art have to be so “pure”? Is art that has a relationship with traffic not art? I do n’t think it ’s necessary either. We have to look at the issue from a development perspective. Any “classic” art used to be “contemporary” art, and many “serious” artists used to be “flow” in that era. Sibelius’s music now looks very classical, but at the time, it was a kind of “apostasy” in a sense. What was it like to be scolded when “Firebird” and “Spring Festival” were staged? But now it seems that this is how good music and great creation. Was it not accepted at the time because people did not appreciate art in the past? Not really. It’s just that in the next 50 years, through continuous testing, we found that this thing is really good.
Reporter: But for ordinary listeners, contemporary works seem a bit too difficult.
Huang Mengla: I had discussed this question with my classmates during my school days. Their answer was, we cannot repeat Beethoven and Mozart forever. But it’s easy to break something, it’s hard to set up. After breaking some of the structure and principles of classical music in contemporary music creation, it seems difficult to produce a strong resonance between the stage and the stage. Each composer has its own language system, and the familiarity is reduced, so the audience sometimes feels that they do not understand.
Reporter: What about as a performer? Are you satisfied with playing classical works repeatedly?
Huang Mengla: I am satisfied (laughs). Let’s put it this way, from classicism to romanticism to contemporary works, musical styles are becoming less and less restrictive to performers. And what training did we receive since childhood? For example, it is written in the music score that this sound is a quarter pitch higher than that. This quarter note falls on the violin, which is a very slight movement of the finger. We have practiced that in the fast movement of fingers, every sound like this can be accurate. The more ancient works, the higher the requirements in this regard. For the performer, this precise “characterization” of the music style can be constantly pursued. This may be the difference between us as performers and composers as creators (laughs).
Reporter: What kind of music do you usually listen to?
Huang Mengla: If you leave the violin aside, I now prefer Schumann’s and Chopin’s works. Of course, also depends on personal mood. Waking up in the morning, listening to Mozart’s works or Vivaldi’s works will be a good start. When you are in a bad mood, listening to Schumann’s works will be particularly touching. Composers in the Romantic period would be easier to hear in my ears, because these melodies are more pleasant to the ear, and sometimes I get tired of listening to them and change to contemporary works.
At the violin house, Hefez is my idol. That height! That height! That height is really scary (gradually whispered). I really adore the group of Jewish musicians before and after World War II. They deeply experienced the warmth and coldness of life. They really played with their lives, and their music was impeccable.
I listen to music everyday, and I have high requirements. I would rather not listen to the bad version. For example, I like a certain work. I will search extensively, listen to many, many different performance versions, until I find the one I like best, and then feel comfortable, and listen to it repeatedly-this dish, this restaurant, this chef, cooks the best.
According to the US Newsweek reported on the 5th, in response to the spread of the new coronary pneumonia, the Pentagon recently issued a “Guide to Using Cloth Masks”, requiring all personnel within the Department of Defense military facilities to be unable to guarantee a 6-foot personal distance in public places or workplaces. Wearing a mask. As a result of insufficient masks, as a transitional measure, the Pentagon “encourage all personnel to use household materials or common materials, such as clean T-shirts and other fabrics” to make their own masks.
The document stated that the Army, Navy and Air Force departments will also “publish the latest military health protection guidelines implemented by the Ministry of Defense.” The Pentagon specifically pointed out that anti-epidemic materials such as N95 medical masks will not be issued for this, because these “will be reserved for appropriate personnel.” Critics say that the Pentagon ’s approach to wearing masks and strengthening protection is correct, but the US military lacks medical protective equipment and even requires soldiers to make their own masks. This shows that the Ministry of Defense did not prepare in advance. A retired U.S. military officer Rick Hoff produced content from the media called “Angry Americans”, criticizing the high-level defense ministry for not responding to the epidemic, and saying that the current situation is the most serious betrayal of the U.S. government against the U.S. military since the Vietnam War.