This is an excellent album for those who dig Chinese history and culture. China was an imperial based nation for around (arguably) 4000 years.  These were divided into different dynasties, which were ruled by imperial family authorities. The Qing Dynasty was the last official dynasty of China until the Xinhai Revolution overthrew the Manchus in the early 20th century and established The Republic Of China instead. Nonetheless, the Qing empire was a large, powerful, and wealthy nation.

Let’s have a listen to this album which was a historical backdrop for this time period of the rule of the Qing Dynasty.

Dragons Roaring In The Boundless Sea (Cang Hai Long Yin) begins sounding brilliant from the start. It’s Chinese classical music reminiscent of the Qing era and is soothing and wonderful. Various Chinese melodies arise during this piece. taking us away to a fascinating and beautiful faraway journey. It is excellent Chinese music, and great to hear a glimpse of the now distant past. Magical. Halfway through, it goes quiet, then upbeat drums continue our journey through bliss. It goes in and out of solos, making this an excellent and suspenseful listen.

Wild Geese Descending On A Sandy Beach (Ping Sha Luo Yan) comes next, with its lone sounding Chinese string instrument. It is a strange piece to hear compared to the previous piece before it. Music is here that transcends cultures, places, and time. No singing or backing instrumentation here, just an emotional and memorable performance. A great listen from the far east. Melodic and memorable, even though it is over seven minutes long. Very moving.

Next is Remembering The Xiao Performance On The Phoenix Platform (Feng Huang Tai Shang Yi Chui Xiao) is really brilliant, with a beautiful sounding Chinese female singer singing with minimal Chinese classical arrangements. Beautiful enough to make one shed a tear, it is a memorable and moving performance. It is short and fantastic.

Following is Lyrics On Autumn Wind (Qiu Feng Ci) which starts typically, then enters a beautiful Chinese wind instrument. It sounds emotionally powerful, moving, and beautiful, all in one hit. Brilliant, to say the least, which it is. The Beatles may have been right in singing Roll Over Beethoven but this puts a strong argument for that with this piece alone. Moving, touching, and overall very near perfect. Well structured too, many surprises are here for our ears.

Fisherman’s Tune (Ban Qiao Dao Qing) comes next with some awesome singing and beautiful instrumentation to boot. It only goes for a minute but is captivating.

Playing Musical Instrument While Walking Along The Street (Xing Jie Si He) is a village sort of piece for Chinese music lovers. Not overly loud at the beginning, there is a combination of brilliant melodies and beauty here. Another really wonderful and great listen from a history of one of the longest-lasting civilizations on this planet. It goes into a strange change of pace and structure throughout. A great and epic listen.

Next is The Strings: A Cluster Of Clear Tones (Xian Suo Bei Kao: Qing Yin Chuan) which is just that. It has a large and variable sound of Chinese stringed instruments for our leisure and pleasure. A brilliant set of rhythm and melody is here, a great and inspiring listen. Never a boring or dull moment here, the music just flows brilliantly. A romantic and idealistic piece of brilliance, no doubt about that.

The extended piece Xiang Yu The Conqueror Taking Off His Armour (Ba Wang Xie Jia) is a very good and melodic piece to hear. It has a brilliantly played Chinese string instrument done to a very much perfect listening experience. This is a great Chinese music piece, and no doubt extremely underrated as well. A beautiful and inspiring sort of listen, it takes the mind, body and soul elsewhere. Awesome stuff. It is intricately played to perfection, all the way through.

Deep Night (Ye Shen Chen) sounds really weird at the start, with traditional Chinese percussion, before leading into a beautifully plucked string performance that is wonderful to listen to. Rolling drums are here as well. This is a great and interesting performance, reminding us of the wonders of China. It is definitely a cool and upbeat listen. Great to hear. It goes into a loud and crashing finale towards the end of the piece.

Laying An Ambush On All Sides (Shi Mian Mai Fu) is another beautiful played instrumental piece of Chinese music. It has many twists and turns of suspense and many interesting melodies to hear. Great stuff to hear, even today. It goes very quiet during the recording, only to return in fits and bursts. Great and brilliant, once again. The performance is stunning. It builds up into a frenzied climax.

Lastly, we arrive at The Strings: Sixteen Beats (Xian Suo Bei Kao: Shi Liu Ban) which is a more straightforward way to finish off this brilliant recording of Chinese music. Artistic, original and listenable, this music is really fantastic and very much unforgettable. A great listen and a great way to end this recording. A positive and excellent listen, although it is over 13 minutes long. Great stuff. Melodies and rhythm intertwine, making this piece a majestic listen. Brilliant. It is never boring listening here. It flows very nicely. The perfect Chinese combination of rhythm and melody is here.

If you want a slice of Chinese musical history, this is a great place to start. The music here is original and wonderful, a moving and beautiful experience. Are there any flaws here? Not at all. This is a must in your collection.

Essential Chinese music.

9/10