Hwang Yau-tai and his chorus

Hwang Yau-tai is a well-known composer. He passed away in July last year. A detailed biography is available here. His songs are sentimental and expressive. He also composed many songs for schools.

Among his chorus works, two songs stand out: To Forget (遗忘) and Azaleas in Bloom (杜鹃花). Azaleas in Bloom was composed in 1941 during the anti-Japanese war. It tells a story about a young couple. The man is going to fight in the war. The girl wishes the best to her lover, and hopes he will come back with victory. By that time, she will send the azalea flower to him as congratulation. In the context of anti-Japanese war, the young couple cares more about the country than about themselves. The song doesn’t have any heaviness brought about by the war. Hwang indicated his best wishes for his motherland in the song.

To forget (遗忘) is one of the most memorable songs for me, as I’ve performed the song with my choir. I found two versions outstanding. One is by Chinese University of Hong Kong Students’ Choir (here), and the other is by Kaohsiung Chamber Choir (here). The lyrics were written by Chung Mei-yin. After Hwang received the lyrics, he didn’t know how to express the complicated emotion in the words. After ten years, when Hwang was travelling on the train, he suddenly had inspirations for the song and composed the melody. I don’t think we should limit the interpretation of the song to love between men and women. It can refer to pursuit of your dreams, family, friends, and many complicated feelings. I feel incapable to translate those beautiful words. For those who can read Chinese, here I show you the Chinese lyrics:

 遺忘 遺忘…
這纖小軀體 又怎載得起如許沉重憂傷
人說愛情故事 值得終身想念
但是我啊 只想把它遺忘 遺忘 遺忘

隔岸的野火在燒 冷風裡樹枝在搖
我終夜躑躅堤上 只為追尋遺忘
但是你啊 卻似天上的星光
終夜繞著我 終夜繞著我 終夜繞著我 徜徉



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