Music: Chinese Schmalz

When the Philadelphia Orchestra finished playing The Yellow River Concerto in Peking last September, Conductor Eugene Ormandy signaled for the composer to share the bows. Out came two men and two women. To a Westerner listening to the work, the four might just as well have been Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Cécile Chaminade and Joan Baez. Actually, they were a committee from the Central Philharmonic Society of the People's Republic of China, perhaps the country's foremost composer. The event was the highlight of the Philadelphia's tour of China, the first such by an American orchestra. The moment is now recalled by a new...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!