Naxos Scenic Musical Journeys Xi'an A Cultural Tour with Traditional Chinese Music
The capital of Shaanxi Province, Xi''an, its name translating as ''Western Peace'', was the Chinese capital during the Tang dynasty (618-906 C.E.). The Big Wild Goose Pagoda, completed in 704 on the orders of the Empress Wu Zetain during her period of rule as Empress of the Zhou dynasty, soon replaced by the restored Tang, is one of the oldest such structures in China. Of particular interest is the tomb of the Emperor Huang, regarded as the founder of the unified Chinese nation, and the remarkable terracotta warriors and horses discovered around the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang Di, founder of the Qin dynasty who died in 210 B.C.E.. The tour ends with views of the precipitous Huashan (Flower Mountain), so called from its five peaks, grouped in the shape of a great flower.
The music chosen for this tour of Xi''an is played on traditional Chinese instruments. The excerpts include, to accompany the terracotta warriors, a contemporary composition inspired by Zhang Ji''s poem Night at the Maple Bridge giving particular prominence to the zhongruan, a form of Chinese lute of ancient origin. Other instruments heard are the Chinese transverse bamboo flute, the dizi, the Chinese plucked zither, the guqin, and the Chinese lute, the pipa. A glimpse of operatic stage performance finds a place for a Shaanxi opera tune, an example of the music to be heard in the many regional forms of Chinese opera.