Chinese laud pianist Lang Lang's White House selection
January 25, 2011, 11:59 pm TWN
BEIJING -- Chinese Web users are acclaiming pianist Lang Lang's choice of tune for a White House state dinner given in honor of President Hu Jintao — a patriotic theme song from an anti-U.S. war film.
The 28-year-old Chinese virtuoso, who divides his time between China and the United States, has given no indication that he was aware of the nationalistic tinge to his choice at last Wednesday's dinner entertainment.
But Web users in China hailed Lang Lang as a true patriot for playing "My Motherland," the theme of a famous 1956 Chinese film called "Battle on Shangganling Mountain," set during the Korean War.
The movie of the Battle of Triangle Hill, as it became known, features Chinese troops enduring huge hardship before reinforcements arrive and rout their American enemies.
"It's deeply meaningful to play this in the United States, but I don't know if the Americans can understand? Ha ha," one Web user commented on China's leading Web portal, sina.com.
"You really voiced our thoughts," another wrote. "We do not want to see war, but we are really not afraid of war, and to defend our homeland, we are really not afraid of any great powers."
Others wondered if the pianist was aware of the song's history.
"Congratulations!" one said. "On a separate issue, before picking 'My Motherland,' did you know it was the theme tune for 'Battle on Shangganling Mountain?'"
On his blog, Lang Lang gushed about his black-tie evening at the White House in the company of Hu and U.S. President Barack Obama. He played the piece solo after a piano four-hands with U.S. jazz legend Herbie Hancock.
He wrote that playing "My Motherland" in front of so many dignitaries "seemed like I was telling them about the power of China and the unity of the Chinese."
"I felt deeply honored and proud," he said, without revealing any awareness that his choice might have been a political snub to his U.S. hosts.