Thursday, 8 December 2011
Music from China 1
From Notes page:
After this to another quarter, a long narrow very straight street opposite a gate, one aimed at tourists, lined with red lanterns, with elegant clothes and expensive items for sale, but we are heading for a small room to hear a recital on the guqin, a seven stringed zither, played by a master. We gather on benches and are offered tea and the master plays and sings ancient songs. To my western ears it is a distant, sad, deeply sensitive sound, held together by some repetitions and changes of mood. The instrument is so quiet at times one can hardly hear it; at other times it is struck with great force then hushed. Our Chinese friends are clearly absorbed and moved. The owner of the house says one of the songs played by the master is the finest performance of the piece he has ever heard. The tea goes round in the growing cold. The master sings a short solo verse, then he both sings and plays. By this time I am beginning to hear motifs and imitations of human voices - a lot of vibrato, some steely sounds, much tonal whispering and sighing.
The absorbed figure on the left of the picture is our friend, the poet Xiao Kaiyu. The video was taken on a simple iPhone. Mao looks on.