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European Anti-epidemic Story | The Bell of Victory

European Anti-epidemic Story | The Bell of Victory

When a piano song called “Wuhan – Victory is in sight” was played in the Victoria Concert Hall, a famous music hall in Geneva, Switzerland. More than 1,000 spectators first listened quietly, and then burst into a long period of warm applause.

That day is February 26, 2020. For the first time, the local people felt the determination and confidence of the Chinese people to fight the epidemic through music. This belief is touching, comforting and hopeful.

On that day, a concert to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth was the first in a carefully prepared series of concerts there. Zhao Meidi, a young Swiss Chinese pianist, played Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 and won applause from the audience. The organizer originally hoped that she would play another Beethoven song when she returned, but she proposed to play the work she had just completed to express support and blessings to Wuhan. The organizer immediately replied: I fully agree.

The performance was a complete success. One audience said that the Beethoven played by Zhao Meidi was perfect, but the most touching thing that night was the return track, which made people excited and involuntarily want to cry.

“Music has a special power. We should make good use of this direct power to people’s hearts. Zhao Meidi said.

She saw the bravery and hard work of many young medical workers in the media, and was moved to feel that she had to do something. Through this song, she not only wants to express her tribute and blessings to Wuhan, but also wants to convey to the global audience the bravery and united spirit of the Chinese people in the face of the epidemic.

On February 4, medical staff transferred the patient to the ward of Wuhan Huoshenshan Hospital. Photo by Xiao Yijiu, reporter of Xinhua News Agency

During the creation process, Zhao Meidi asked her father Zhao Yuan, a Swiss Chinese music educator: What are the representative local music elements in Wuhan? Zhao Yuan replied that Hubei, where Wuhan is located, has a very representative and symbolic melody, which is “Honghu Water, Waves” based on the local folk song, which is also the theme song of the opera “Honghu Red Guards”.

Subsequently, Zhao Meidi borrowed the tonality and harmony of “Honghu Water, Waves” and merged some elements of the song “My Motherland” to create this piano solo, which she described as “rich in modernity and Chinese atmosphere at the same time”. This song is dedicated not only to Wuhan, but also to the world facing the epidemic together.

In fact, the day after the concert, Switzerland announced the suspension of public activities for more than 300 people, and the first concert series on the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth became the last.

Since then, the epidemic has spread rapidly in many European countries. Although it eased for a while, it has rebounded again recently. Many places have experienced the difficult process of “lockdown”-“unblocking”-“re-lockdown”.

On October 30, a restaurant on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, closed down. Starting that day, France once again “locked down” the whole country, at least until December 1. Photo by Gao Jing, reporter of Xinhua News Agency

In the face of the COVID-19 epidemic, the common enemy of mankind, China and the EU watch and help each other. During China’s difficult anti-epidemic period, European countries first extended a helping hand, provided China with valuable assistance such as medical supplies, and expressed support through holding concerts and other forms. When Europe is facing the severe challenge of the epidemic, China also shares its anti-epidemic experience and professional knowledge in a timely manner, and donates medical supplies and medical assistance to countries in need.

Zhao Meidi’s efforts are also continuing. With China’s major strategic achievements in the fight against the epidemic, she revised the song and renamed it “The Bell of Victory” and played it more than ten concerts in Basel, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany and other places.

The reporter listened to the piano music live on September 5. At that time, the epidemic in Switzerland was easing, the “lockdown” measures were temporarily over, and the annual classical concert in Morges, Switzerland, with a long history, was successfully held. The person who played the concert was Zhao Meidi. The first song she played was the song “The Bell of Victory”. In her pre-performance introduction, she said that she hoped that the song would give people hope and inspire people at the same time.

People line up for COVID-19 testing in Zurich, Switzerland, on 23 October. Xinhua News Agency/Reuters

According to the data of the Swiss Federal Public Health Office, the number of confirmed cases in the country has recently increased at a rate of about 5,000 new cases a day. As of November 21, more than 290,000 people have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus and more than 3,500 people have died. Due to the severe pressure on the health care system, state governments have not ruled out the possibility of another “lockdown”.

Throughout Europe, the situation is not optimistic. According to the data of the World Health Organization, the number of newly confirmed cases in Europe has recently exceeded 250,000 in a single day, and more than 16 million people have been diagnosed. WHO Director-General Tedros Tedros has recently stressed at regular press conferences that countries should not lose confidence in fighting the epidemic. It is not too late to take strong epidemic prevention measures at any time. The successful experience of some countries in East Asia has proved that even before effective vaccines are widely used, countries have the hope to successfully control the epidemic.

On November 18, in Brussels, Belgium, people took a walk in the park. Photo by Zhang Wei, reporter of Xinhua News Agency

“In Europe, I live in, these are very difficult times.” Zhao Meidi said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency on the 21st that she hoped that she would have more opportunities to continue to play this song in European countries, interpret the spirit of anti-epidemic with music, and convey the belief of victory to the world. She hoped that the bell of victory could soon ring in Europe and the world. 

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