Monday, 01/04/2019 09:00

Artists’ new productions commemorate musician Trịnh Công Sơn

Pianist Nguyen Tuan Manh presents a music video featuring a mashup of Diem Xua (Diem, My Cherished Old Flame), one of Trinh Cong Son’s most famous compositions, and Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Still photo from the video
Viet Nam News

By Phuong Mai

HCM CITY  – Singers and musicians from HCM City have released new productions to commemorate the late musician Trinh Cong Son and to mark his 18th death anniversary on April 1.

Duc Tuan, one of the best tenors in the country’s music industry, has issued a CD to honour one of Son’s greatest compositions Da Trang Ca (Song of Sand Crab).

The 12-minute song, composed in 1963, was performed in public only three times and never recorded. It consists of two sections including 13 titled verses.

Its lyrics are about people’s sorrows and their fate, and how love saves them from sadness.

Tuan worked with drummer Cong Thanh, and violinist, percussionist and music producer Thanh Tam of HCM City on the production.

The 39-year-old singer, who rose to fame after winning first prize at the HCM City Television song contest in 2000, has released dozens of albums featuring songs by famous composers Van Cao, Pham Duy and Trinh Cong Son.

After listening to the song, Nguyen Trung Truc, Son’s brother-in-law, said: “My wife [singer Trinh Vinh Trinh] and I were moved to tears. We would like to express our deep gratitude to singer Duc Tuan for bringin the song alive.”

Da Trang Ca was written in Quy Nhon City in Binh Dinh Province in 1963 with the original name Tieng Hat Da Trang, for a music gala at Quy Nhon University in the same year. It was later performed only twice, in 1975 and 2009.

Truc hopes the song will become popular so that the public can learn more about Trinh Cong Son’s musical heritage.

The song is also available on streaming music services like Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube.

Pianist Nguyen Tuan Manh, a huge fan of Son’s music, has released a music video featuring a mash up of Diem Xua (Diem, My Cherished Old Flame), one of Son’s most famous compositions, and Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

Son wrote Diem Xua in 1960 for his first love Ngo Vu Bich Diem. He used an image of her in the pouring rain, drawing out the deep anguish of missing a loved one.

“I love the melody and lyrics of Diem Xua. I tried to perform it on piano and then combine it with the classical composition Moonlight Sonata. Fortunately, it works.”

Through the MV, the 33-year-old pianist presents a magnificent melody about the spectacular landscapes of Hue, the composer’s homeland.

Directed by Tran Thien, the video was filmed at Vong Canh Hill, the tombs of the kings Thieu Tri and Khai Dinh of the Nguyen Dynasty, Hue’s Forbidden City, and Phu Van Lau or the Pavilion of Edicts. It was also filmed along the Huong River and Hai Duong Beach.

Manh’s creative production has received praise from Son’s family and fans.

“What a wonderful combination. Tuan Manh’s performance is elegant and creative,” said Hoang Van Dat, a fan of Son’s music.

Born to a traditional music family, Manh began studying piano at the HCM City Conservatory at the age of 8. He earned a master’s of music in piano performance at  Illinois State University in the US in 2013.

He performed as a soloist with the ASEAN Orchestra led by Japanese conductor Yoshikazu Fukumura in 2010.

He was a pioneer in bringing chamber music to young audiences in HCM City.

In 2016, Manh was included on the “30 Under 30” list by Forbes Vietnam magazine in recognition of his achievements in the music industry.

Like Tuan and Manh, businessman and singer Duong Tan Son expressed his love for Son’s music with the music video Dau Chan Dia Dang (Footmark in Heaven).

The singer has sung Son’s compositions for nearly 20 years and released two albums, but has not done a music video.

“Dau Chan Dia Dang is a special song and is beautiful like an abstract painting. So I decided to bring the heaven from Son’s music to reality,” he said. “Through my video, I want to show off an aspect of Son’s music that is very poetic and cinematic.”

New film

Son’s family is working with Galaxy Studio, one of the country’s private film studios, and film producer and director Nguyen Quang Dung to make a film musical about the composer.

Truc said “The film is about a love story about Son and a Japanese woman named Yoshii Michiko.” The producers are now holding casting calls to find two actors who will play Son in youth and middle age.

Directed by Phan Gia Nhat Linh, the film is expected to begin in April 2020 and be released on April 1 in 2021 to mark the 20th death anniversary of Son.

Trinh Cong Son was born in the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) province of Dak Lak in 1939, but grew up in Hue.

He became popular in 1957 with his first song, Uot Mi (Crying Eyes).

It is estimated that he has written over 600 songs, 236 of which have been widely popular among Vietnamese audiences, such as Ru Tinh (Lullaby to Love), Ca Khuc Da Vang (Yellow-Skinned People’s Song) and Noi Vong Tay Lon (Joining Hands for Solidarity).

Songs such as Diem Xua and Ca Dao Me (Mother’s Lullabies) have been translated into Japanese, and have been performed by leading Japanese singers such as Yoshimi Tendo and Aya Shimazu.

Son died in on April 1, 2001 after a prolonged illness.

Since then, his family and fans of his music have launched annual commemorative events in HCM City and other provinces to mark his death anniversary.

This year, commemorative events will be held on April 1 at the HCM City Book Pedestrian Street on Nguyen Van Binh Street in District 1 and at Son’s former house (which belongs to his family) at 47C Pham Ngoc Thach Street in District 3. – VNS

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