Apricot Blossoms against a Sky
Chang Jing: New Music for Zheng
Twilight thoughts and the scent of fragrant spring flowers evoke dreams of a distant time and place.
Beautiful music always comes from the heart.
The strings of the ancient Chinese Zheng weave a multicolored song…
Ten exquisite works reveal an extraordinary and refined aesthetic…
Folk songs, improvisations and classic Chinese opera transport you…
You are transported as if in a dream …
Your thoughts wandering through the centuries…
You awaken to the sound of a melody…
You awaken to a vision of “Apricot Blossoms everywhere…”
(or “Apricot Blossoms against a Sky” – depending upon the final title).
Beautiful music always comes from the heart!
Rhymoi Music is proud to announce their very first recording of contemporary improvised Chinese music.
Chang Jing, the “Zheng Beauty” is joined by an ensemble of master musicians, including Peking and Kunqu opera singers on a musical journey that will transport you to a timeless realm of elegance and enchantment.
Asia’s greatest recording engineer, Li Dakang has vividly captured each performance, with post-production by Germany’s audiophile Stockfisch Records mastering studios.
When I first heard the music on this disc, I was immediately enchanted by its utter beauty. The music transported me and I began to reflect on incidents from my life; a hundred scattered memories, forgotten dreams, and lost loves. I also contemplated the significance of the music of the Guzheng for the Chinese race. For over 2000 years the Zheng’s sinuous, sensuous melodies have sounded out, adding lustrous splendor to royal feasts of the Tang Dynasty, accompanying the passionate and heartfelt Ci (词) poems of the Song Dynasty, inspiring moon-drunk poets in the Yuan Dynasty, providing a refined soundtrack for Ming Dynasty mandarins and finally, achieving its perfect form and greatest popularity during the Qing Dynasty. Throughout its millennia of existence, the Zheng has been a traveler – moving from humble village to imperial court and even beyond the boundaries of China, where the Zheng would become the Japanese Koto, the Mongolian Yatga, the Korean Gayageum and the Vietnamese Dan Tranh.
The timeless music of the Zheng speaks from the heart and when played by a master musician, can create a world of sound; it’s rippling glissandos evoking the rustling of leaves, the fluttering of proud battle flags, and cascading waterfalls.
As I listened to each track, I found myself caught in a musical/magical web– I could actually see the disconsolate imperial concubine Yang Yuhuan’s intoxicated pirouettes, as she sought to drown her sorrows in a nocturnal soliloquy of drinking and dancing upon hearing “The Drunken Beauty: Past and Present.” For the ancient poets,songs played upon the Guzheng was the saddest music in the world. Today when we hear the sound of the Zheng, we may dream of ancient times, faraway places, beautiful maidens, and elegant gardens while its exquisite melodies surround us in a multi-colored tapestry of sound.
Rhymoi Music is proud to present the talents of one of China’s most gifted young artists, Chang Jing - known to her fans as “The Zheng Beauty.” Ms. Chang not only performs here but also composed and arranged every track. She has recorded several very popular albums in the past, but “Apricot Blossoms” will be her first international release.
Throughout our special program, Zheng virtuoso Chang Jing’s marvelous performances are complimented by sensitive orchestrations – the chiming of bells on “A Moonlit Night On The Spring River”, the haunting, otherworldly sound of the Xiao bamboo flute on “The Tao” a tender cantilena played by the cello on “Bon Soir” and even singers from Chinese opera on " A Walk in the garden: A Dream of flowers falling o'er the pool " and “The Drunken Beauty: Past and Present” - each arrangement perfectly capturing a mood or describing a scene of ineffable beauty.
For producer Ye Yunchuan, this program of improvised music posed special challenges. Working closely with each of the artists, he inspired and encouraged them to explore the limits of their creativity. Once in the studio, Li Dakang one of Asia’s master recording engineers captured each new “composition” digital on tape. Finally, after enough material had been compiled, the artists and technicians together with Mr. Ye selected the very best performances for your enjoyment. Post-production mastering was done by the audiophile engineers at Stockfisch Recording Studios (Germany).
All of us at Rhymoi Music invite you to join us on this musical journey with the “Zheng Beauty” as she reveals to us the magical sound world of one of China’s most ancient instruments – the Guzheng.
1. Flower Petals in the Wind
Guzheng Dizi Voice
Lyrics: Li Yu
Composed by Chang Jing
The east wind blows over the water, the sun sits by the hill,
Though spring has come, the idleness persists.
Fallen blossom is scattered amid wine and tinkling pendants by the rail,
She listens to playing and singing in a drunken daze.
The pendants are now silent, her evening wear undone,
For what man's sake is she to dress her hair?
Her fair appearance too will pass as time slips by,
At dusk, she leans alone upon the railing.
- Li Yu [Southern Tang], “The East Wind Blows Over the Water (to the Tune: The Lover's Return)"
“Flower Petals in the Wind” was Inspired by the words of Li Yu (937–978), a Chinese poet and the last ruler of the Southern Tang Kingdom. Li has been called the "first true master" of the Ci poem. Ci were written to fit the meter and rhyme scheme of popular pre-existing tunes such as "The Lover's Return." The original melodies have been lost to the ages, but the poems live on.
2. Bon Soir
Composed by Liu Tianhua (arr. Chang Jing)
This lovely nocturne, known in Chinese as “Liang Xiao” is one of the most popular works composed by the early 20th century erhu virtuoso and educator Liu Tianhua (1895-1932). Chang Jing has replaced Liu’s original erhu with a cello, whose rich tenor voice joins the Guzheng’s shimmering arpeggios to describe a lovely moonlit scene.
3. The Dao
Zheng Xiao (Stone Chime)
Improvised Duet: Chang Jing Dai Ya
This quiet improvised meditation on the Dao has inspired both our musicians to explore some of the most fascinating sonic capabilities of their instruments. The full range of Guzheng playing techniques can be heard – glissandos, portamentos and expressive pitch bending, playing behind the bridge and different plucking techniques create a universe of sonic possibilities.
4. The Drunken Beauty: Past and Present
Guzheng Peking Opera Singing Bangu (Frame Drum) Dagu (Bass Drum)
Composed and Arranged by Chang Jing
"The Drunken Beauty" is one of the most famous and popular of all Peking operas. The opera tells the story of how Yang Guifei ("Guifei" was the highest rank of imperial concubine) waited in the One Hundred Flower Pavilion for the emperor to arrive in order to drink with him. When the Emperor did not arrive, Yang Gufei decided to drown her sorrows in drinking and dancing.
For this piece, Chang Jing has used the concubine's famous “Song to the Moon” as the basis for the first part of her tone poem. The second half of the work begins with a clatter of percussion and both Guzheng and the voice of the concubine join in a frenzied ballet, portraying Yang Guifei's drunken dance.
Composed by Chang Jing
In Chang Jing’s lovely night song Gaze, lilting arpeggiations on the Guzheng accompany a simple, slow waltz-like melody played on the violin. This elegant, intimate chamber music perfectly blends both eastern and western musical traditions in capturing the romantic mood of a gentle evening rain.
6. A Moonlit Night On The Spring River
Guzheng Tubular Bells
Traditional Melody arranged by Chang Jing
The title of this piece was inspired by the poem of the same name by Tang Dynasty poet Zhang Ruoxu (c. 660-720). Both the original poem – considered one of the most perfect poems of the Tang Dynasty - and the melody are very famous throughout China. The poet describes a beautiful moonlit scene and mediates on the transience of human existence, loss and separation. Throughout Chang Jing’s arrangement, the solemn sound of tubular bells is heard, providing an air of solemn mystery to her improvisations.
7. A Walk in the garden: A Dream of flowers falling o'er the pool
Guzheng Kunqu Opera Recitation
Arranged by Chang Jing
For nearly 500 years, Tang Xianzu's timeless love story The Peony Pavilion has enjoyed the status of one of China's greatest and most popular operas.
The play's author, Tang Xianzu (1550 - 1616) is considered China's Shakespeare and indeed, the two were contemporaries. The main action of The Peony Pavillion focuses on the passionate romance of Liu Mengmei, a young student, and Du Li’niang, the daughter of a high official – a love so powerful that it even transcends death.
Chang Jing's arrangement is based on the scene where Liu Mengmei finds and falls in love with Du Li’niang's portrait in the garden at the Peony Pavillion. In this piece you will hear the Kunqu singer using an exaggerated form of theatrical speech called "Yun Bai." Yun Bai was used exclusively for poetic recitations.
心无挂碍赏美景， 飘飘仙乐观自在 。
8. The Moon’s Reflection on the Lake
Composed by Qi Gang and Chang Jing
For thousands of years, images of the moon reflected in water have inspired Chinese poets and musicians. The rich, warm sound of the cello once again takes the lead in this tender serenade full of nostalgia and yearning.
9. Spring Scenery
Composed by Chang Jing
In this delicate Zheng solo describing the first blossoms in spring, we can hear the modern two-hand performance technique. Chang Jing provides her own accompaniment for a richly ornamented melody that includes chords, tremolos portamentos and glissandos.
词/曲 姜 夔 编曲：常静
10.Apricot Blossoms against a Sky
Tune and Lyrics: Jiang Kui Arranged by Chang Jing
Jiang Kui (姜夔) (1155-1221), also known as Jiang Baishi, was one of the foremost musicians, calligraphers, and poets of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279). He is regarded as one of the greatest Ci poets in the history of Chinese literature though only 10 ritual songs and seven Ci songs (including Apricot Blossoms against a Sky )have survived. In this arrangement, Chang Jing has based her performance upon how the original poem may have sounded when sung to the accompaniment of the Guzheng. As we listen to Chang’s fragile interpretation of this centuries old lyric, we begin to understand that why, for the ancient poets, songs played upon the Guzheng were the saddest music in the world.
2001 古筝演奏 现代音乐节，法国里昂
2002 古筝演奏 陈其钢作品《蝶恋花》， 汤沐海指挥，法国巴黎
2004 古筝演奏 MTV盛典大型演出，中国上海
2005 古筝演奏 访问演出，随温家宝总理，印度
2007 古筝演奏 访问演出，随胡锦涛主席，俄罗斯
2008 古筝演奏 2008北京奥运会开幕式 中国北京
2004 制作／演奏 个人专辑《离弦》
2004 创作／演奏 电影音乐《中芭纪录片－我们在跳舞》
2005 制作／演奏 佛教音乐《莲花生》
2006 编曲／演奏 世界音乐《爱与希望》
2007 创作／演奏 舞蹈音乐《惊梦》
2008 创作／演奏 2008北京奥运会纪录片《水立方》音乐
2008 演奏 2008北京开幕式《春江花月夜》，闭幕式开场曲《红叶》
Chang Jing :
1991 - 1995 Studied in China conservatory of music
1995 Began to work at China National Song & Dance Ensemble
Performance of Chang Jing:
2001 contemporary music festival in Lyon, invited by National Music Create Center of France
2002 Engaged as Royal Instructor of Music for the Princess of Thailand, four concerts with the princess in Thailand and China
2002 CHEN Qigang’s composition "Iris Unveiled", with French national orchestral, which was conducted by MR.TANG Muhai.
2005 India, Bhutan and Russia
2007 China with Richard Kledman
2008 Performed in the opening ceremony in Midem, Cannas Music
2008 Performed in Beijing Olympic Games 2008
2004 Performer / Producer: Ballet Music, “Spirit of the sword”, DU Wei & CHANG Jing, world’s first performed
2004 Recording / Producer: Sound Track, documentary film “We are dancing”, DU Wei & CHANG Jing, director: GAN Lu
2005 Arranger / Producer: “Lotus Born” , Namrol Ripoche’s Buddhism music, published in May.
2006 Arranger / Producer, “Love and Hope”, published in Feb.
2007 Performer / Composer: Beyond the rainbow
音乐制作人, 美国格莱美协会会员 , 创立中国声誉卓著的音乐品牌“瑞鸣音乐”，并任制作人，中国金唱片奖最佳音乐人特别奖获得者。从事音乐创作、制作多年，获海内外重要音乐媒体高度评价，部分作品被海外唱片公司收录出版，所制作的音乐作品在高端音乐市场得到较大认同，并远销海外，销售成绩斐然。担任制作人的唱片及音乐作品曾多次获“美国独立音乐大奖”“中国金唱片奖”“中华优秀出版奖”“华语音乐传媒大奖”等百余个奖项，在中国城市广播联盟评选“中国十大发烧唱片”中数次入选，作品多次入选“CD圣经”等海内外专业评比。因多年与国际音乐制作及出版行业的密切合作经历，音乐创作理念及制作手段具有国际化的开阔视角。
About the Producer:
Ye Yunchuan，Producer, composer, arranger, graphic designer, Grammy member, and the founder of one of China’s most prestigious audiophile recording labels, Rhymoi Music, Ye Yunchuan is further distinguished as the first Full Voting Member of the American Grammy Awards (The National Academy for Recording Arts and Science – NARAS) representing the Chinese music industry. He is, without any question, one of the rising stars in China’s growing music industry. Prior to his current activities, Ye established an international reputation, as a composer and producer, being awarded several American Independent Music Awards, Chinese Golden Album Awards, numerous rave reviews in CD Bible (China) in addition to being included on China City Radio Association’s “Ten Hottest Albums” roundup. Years of cooperation with international music production and publication circles has provided him with a truly global perspective. As founder of his own recording label, Rhymoi Music, he is committed to establishing new standards of excellence for recorded music in China. Rhymoi Music recordings are immediately identifiable - with their innovative approaches to programming, world-class musical and artistic standards, beauty of presentation and packaging, cultural relevance, and their conscious desire to introduce the treasures of Chinese music to an international audience - Rhymoi Music is without peer. With his deep commitment to the traditions and national music of his homeland, Ye Yunchuan is committed to building new and ever more creative and beautiful bridges between the musical heritage of China and the musical traditions of the world. Ye Yunchuan continues to realize his vision with each new recording.
Zheng / Vocals: Chang Jing
Dizi / Xiao: Dai Ya
Violin: Zhao Kunyu
Cello: Liu Man
Peking Opera singing: Meng Meng
Kunqu Opera singing: Zeng Jie
Percussion: Bai Long / Wei Ran
录音助理：董克 杨杰 曲璐 刘心睿
Producer: Ye Yunchuan
Executive Producer: Ye Yunchuan
Composer/Arranger (all tracks): Chang Jing
Recording Engineer: Li Dakang
Recording Assistant: Dong Ke, Yang Jie, Qu Lu, Liu Xinrui
Chinese Copywriter: Yang Qian
English Copywriter: Joshua Cheek
Marketing: Liu Jun
Graphic Design: Total Viewfiender
Recorded at the PLA Military Band Recording Studio
Mastering: Stockfisch Records (Germany)
Produced by: Rhymoi Music. Co., Ltd www.rhymoi.com
Copyright Statement: The music and arrangements appearing on this album have been licensed in accordance with the copyright laws of China. If there are any errors, please contact us.
Flower Petals in the Wind
The Drunken Beauty: Past and Present
A Moonlit Night On The Spring River
7. 游园. 梦回莺啭
A Walk in the garden: A Dream of flowers falling o'er the pool
The Moon’s Reflection on the Lake
Apricot Blossoms against a Sky