This article is the back story to “After Crossing the Altai Mountains”, a music video on You Tube. If you are curious about contemporary Mongolian literature or 20th Century Mongolian classical music, below you will find: (i) an English translation of a poem by master poet Gombojav Mend-ooyo; and (ii) information about Mongolia’s famous composer Natsagiin Jantsannorov. If you’re just interested in the music video, scroll to the end of this page for the link to my YT channel.
There are two Mongolian scholar-poets whose compositions are never too far from my own desk: Zava Damdin rinpoche (1976- ) and master G. Mend-ooyo (1952- ) a Mongolian writer, poet and calligrapher born into a herder’s family in Dariganga (Sükhbaatar Aimag) in Mongolia. That’s about a 720kms drive east-south-east from the nation’s capital Ulan Bator. Here is another one of G. Mend-ooyo’s exquisite poems. I feel it compliments the intermedia composition around composer N. Jantsannorov‘s melody lines very well …
Song of the Moon
I dropped into my ink the rays of the silver moon
And their quality shone within the shining picture of eternity
I wove the rays of the storytelling moon onto the tip of my vision
And I sewed my poem-children with a perfect silken thread
I struck the crystal of the nephrite moon onto my hardened heart
And, in the darkness, there streamed from my poetry rays of jade.
I placed my song of grace before the mirror of the wise moon
And my poem, with its shining soul, dwelt in the light of Shambala
Source: G.Mend-ooyo. Nomadic Lyrics translated from the Mongolian by Simon Wickham-Smith (Ulaanbaatar, 2007) p48.
After Crossing the Altai Mountains (Eternal Power of the Sky, 1992) was originally composed by N. Jantsannorov to be performed by the Mongolian National Morin Khuur Orchestra.
BIO: Natsagiin Jantsannorov (Mong. Нацагийн Жанцанноров, 1949- ) is a well-regarded contemporary Mongolian composer. Jantsannorov is his given name and Natsag is a patronymic, not a family name.
Dr. N. Jantsannorov has played a key role in foregrounding Mongolian music and culture for more than 45 years. He is well known as one of Mongolia’s finest composers, having composed nearly 300 works including two ballets, two symphonies, six concertos, oratorios, cantatas, chamber music, and at least another 300 songs.
He has also composed soundtracks and music for over 30 films including The Queen Mandukhai, The Wise, and Under the Power of Eternal Heaven. His works and compositions are included in orchestral and other repertoires performed in many countries all over the world. His awards include: People’s Artist of Mongolia, ‘Golden Star’ award for Meritorious Person for Peace, and State Honoured Laureate of Mongolia for the Compositions for Morin Khuur.
🎧 Original orchestration: https://open.spotify.com/track/3N1jTRY8tVjWwW4gNniGAH?si=8d0ba5d6c5e54bfb
🎧 CP Cover version (2023): After Crossing the Altai Mountains (arr. piano) on You Tube.
© 2023. CP in Mongolia. This post is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Documents linked from this page may be subject to other restrictions. Posted: 14 October 2023. Last updated: 16 October 2023.