One of the highlights of the state dinner was a performance by Lang Lang
, a Chinese pianist who has been a sensation in music circles. Mr. Lang played a duet with the American jazz pianist Herbie Hancock
, then a haunting traditional Chinese melody called “My Motherland.”
In China, it turns out, “My Motherland” is better known as the theme from the film “Battle on Shangganling Mountain
,” a 1956 Chinese classic about a Korean War battle in which a vastly outnumbered band of Chinese soldiers held off American and United Nations forces for 42 days.
If, in retrospect, “My Motherland” might seem to be a regrettable choice for a state dinner, it clearly was unintentional. Mr. Lang, an American-trained pianist who divides his time between the United States and China, is an artist who melds American and Chinese cultures.