Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto Research

March 10, 2004 at 06:28 AM · For those who have had trouble finding the sheet music to this work.

Research has come up with these references as of 2/25/04.

1.The Violin/Piano reduction is for sale

2.The Full conductor score is for sale

3.The orchestra parts are only on rental from the publisher.

If you have other sources please send me a private e-mail.

Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto Research

Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto by He Zhan Hao (a.k.a. Ho ZhanHao) and Chen Gang (a.k.a. Chen Kung). (1958) [1959?] dur 27' (Title= Liang Zhu Xiao Ti Qin Xie Zou Qu)

The instrumentation is: 2-2-2-2 - 4-2-3-0 - timp, 3 perc(Gu Ban,Cym,Tam-tam), hp, piano, strings, solo Violin (The percussion includes a part for Gu Ban two Chinese instruments which can be played on woodblocks)


From: Klaus Heymann

Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2004 5:44 PM

HNH International Ltd. is the publisher for the 50% of the Butterfly Lovers that belong to Chen Gang. We just published a new score and parts and can sell the score and rent the parts … we will pay the other publisher, Universal Music Publishing, the 50% belonging to Ho Zhan Hao.

Shanghai Music Press Ltd. has rights only in China and Yih Mei Book Company in Hong Kong has no rights at all.

Klaus Heymann

Level 11 * Cyberport 1

100 Cyberport Road

Hong Kong SAR

Tel: 852-2760 7818 + Fax: 852-2760 1962

E-Mail: Klaus.Heymann@Naxos.Com

[CEO Naxos Records]


From emusicQuest (Music in Print) These are older listings.

Composer: Chen, Gang & He, Zhan Hao

Edition: BUTTERFLY LOVERS, THE, FOR VIOLIN AND ORCHESTRA [28'] ! timp, perc, harp, pno, strings, vln solo HONG KONG perf mat rent

Publisher: Hong Kong Music Media Publishing Co., Ltd

Kai It Building, 9th Floor 58 Pak Tai Street

Tokwawan, Kowloon Hong Kong

Composer: Chen, Gang


snip from a web site;

Looking for the Score? If you are a resident in Singapore - hurry to the National Library at Stamford Road, they have several copies there in the section of Music Scores.

If you reside outside Singapore, or wish to purchase an original copy for yourself, the publisher is Shanghai Music Press Limited, People's Republic of China. This may be tricky to find and I am equally helpless here. I suggest you approach a very large bookstore that carry Chinese Books and therefore have dealings with Chinese Publishers or go to your local Music Score Reseller for help.

Good Luck. - Yeuk Fan

[ This company has the rights in China only per e-mail from Klaus Heymann ]


From Johnson Strings a USA dealer http://www.johnson-inst.com/catalog/index.htm

11 John Street - Newton Centre, MA 02459, 617-964-0954, 800-359-9351

[This dealer, as can any other dealer, will import the violin/piano edition and the full score.]

The violin/piano parts are computer engraved, I have not yet received this full score.

Butterfly Lovers Concerto; Chen/He [Violin/Piano] (the publication notes are in Chinese)

$14.00 [in stock]

The Butterfly Lovers Concerto, composed in 1959 and said to be the most recorded music in China, is based on melodies derived from an operatic tale of star-crossed lovers. Printed in China, this lovely concerto is scored for violin with accompaniment transcribed for piano.

Butterfly Lovers Concerto; Chen/He; SCORE [Full Orchestra Score]

$24.00 [on back order from Hong Kong per Joan@Johnsonstring.com as of 1/12/04]


From an e-mail [This is a dealer who sells the violin/piano edition. They are not the publisher]

snip> It is published by Yih Mei Book Co. in Hong Kong.,7 Tin Lok Lane,G/F,Wanchai,Hong Kong, China, Phone: (852) 25740564



A long article about the piece and some suggestions on how to get the score in China.



Record reviews.

Snip; the notes included are very informative, pointing out how the sonata form of this concertante work, fits in just nicely with the program and that there exists a second version of the Concerto, a revision by Chen Gang.

Some Recordings; One site gives the information that there are 30 recordings of the Concerto.

http://www.naxos.com.hk/page.asp?code=8.225972HDCD Takako Nishizaki ,James Judd, New Zealand Symphony.


http://www.naxos.com/cat/225940.htm Lu Si-qing, Violin, Chen Xie-yang, Conductor,Shanhai Symphony Orchestra


http://www.musicalonline.com/lu/sample_rec.htm Siqing Lu -Violin

snip> Siqing Lu records exclusively for Naxos International (Far East), and has made four recordings of the most famous Chinese violin work, Butterfly Lovers' Violin Concerto." His interpretation has been widely considered the best among more than 30 available recordings of this work.



Takako Nishizaki- Violin, Kenneth Jean,

snip- Due to restrictions imposed by the Composers' and Authors' Society of Hong Kong, complete listening samples are not available for copyrighted works.


http://www.oxid.ru/eng/song.php?id=3765&song=Butterfly%20Lovers%20Violin%20Concerto%20-%20Act%20I An Mp3 of a recording by Vanessa Mae- Violin


http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000002SMT/ref=ase_fast-musicasin-20/002-2604238-2881603?v=glance&s=music Vanessa Mae- Violin


http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000009OMB/ref=pd_sxp_elt_l1/002-2604238-2881603 Takako Nishizaki- Violin

snip from a review -What IS authentic about this recording is that she [Takako Nishizaki]is accompanied by the orchestra and conductor who gave the piece's premiere in 1959.


http://www.svay.org/Artist-bios/Yu-Lina/Yu-Lina-bio.htm Yu Lina- Violin

snip from a review- "To this date, Ms. Yu Li Na, the first person ever to play the Butterfly concerto, remains its best interpreter."

snip> The first recording of the Butterfly Lovers concerto, featuring Lina Yu as soloist, sold over ten million copies. Its popularity has been unflagging from the day of its debut to now.


http://www.chinasprout.com/store/MCC004.html Sheng Zhongguo- Violin



[?? Violin ] (information in Chinese)



A piano sound bite of the Butterfly Choral



a community form about the Concerto



a discussion board that has includes posts about the Concerto.


Research by

Proof Purrfect,Inc.

Clinton F. Nieweg


Replies (3)

March 10, 2004 at 09:04 AM · Nice research, Clint!

There seems to be a bit of contradiction there about the premiére.

Could you enlighten me?

People that I have been in contact to mentions that the violin-piano edition differs from the full score edition, and that Mae and other uses the edited version, but Nizhizaki uses the unedited version. Do you know anything about this?

March 22, 2004 at 11:02 PM · Some references give 1958 other 1959 for the premiere. I have not yet been able to prove which is correct.

I own a Full score published in China with a copyright date of 1979, a computer printed Full score printed in the US and a Violin/piano reduction printed in China with only the program notes in English.

The Full score from China has the fallowing English on the title page; Liang Shan-Bo and Zhu Ying-Tai; violin concerto with orchestra (score); Ho Zhan Hao, Chen Kang.

I have proofed these 3 publications against one another and find only minor differences in the engravings.

There is no evidence of “a revision" in these sources. It would be interesting to see the parts that Naxos has on rental to see if their version is a revision.

Anyone who knows more about the printed sheet music is encouraged to add to this thread.


March 30, 2004 at 04:12 PM · Hi there,

sorry my English is very bad but i'll try my best. I come from Germany and I lived in China for one year (so I can read/write/speak chinese); My essay for the admission to the final exams is about the violin concerto and about its origins in yue-opera.

The premiere of the violinconcerto was 27/5/1959 (violin and orchestra) and 4/5/1959 (violin/piano => performed by the composers, students at that time). Before the cooperation between He and Chen there existed already some melodies in a Liang-Zhu string quartett, called "Little Liang-Zhu", written by He Zhan-Hao and some of its classmates.

There are several revisions of the composers who are still fighting about the copyrights. Chen (a pianist) revised it first and then made the "official" violin-piano version. There are also Liang-Zhu versions for some traditional chinese instruments (Erhu, Pipa) and also for the piano.

You can download several recordings at (chinese!)



this is the homepage of Chen Gang

I would be glad if I can help you to answer further questions !


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