Another entry in the historical works of music from Ancient China. The Tang Dynasty survived during a long period of global events and nearly three centuries well over a millennia ago. Unearthed on this compilation are some great pieces of music. Let’s have a listen to this historical masterwork, see how it sounds.
Birds Singing In Spring (Chun Ying Zhuan) begins this Chinese historical work with fluttering melodies, a chirping bird and a great sense of wonderful Chinese musical history about it. Some string instrument plucking then enters here, likely Mandolin and Pipa. It is brilliantly peaceful and beautiful sounding. It has some magical sounding chime wind instrument melodies here as well. A great sense of musical synthesis, and a great piece of music to boot. There are some great acoustic drum rolls, before going back into the main, reoccurring melody. A powerful and moving musical piece. Towards the end, it speeds up and sounds incredibly joyful. It ends with an enormous amount of drum rolls.
The Joy Of Drinking Wine (Qing Bei Le) starts off with some picturesque melodies, before becoming very frenetic in its playing and musicality. It’s another wonderful and magical tune from many centuries ago. It has a slightly darker tone than you’d expect, but is a lush and interesting listen all the same. There are wonderfully repeated melodies throughout. This is a bit unusual for most music listeners out there, but simply really excellent and beautiful. It ends very gently.
Next is the very short instrumental Spreading Gold Sand (Sa Jin Sha) which is a brief yet beautiful piece to hear. It’s almost over before you know it, but beauty beholden is here. Give this a listen as a test for an introduction to Ancient Chinese music.
Following is Prelude Of Dance Music Of The Imperial Palace (Ni Shang Zhong Xu Di Yi) which is a rather odd sounding piece of music, even for a compilation such as this one. At just under three minutes, it’s a good and quirky listen from Ancient China. It’s not loud and in your face like modern western Pop music, just sublime. Brilliant stuff.
Yangguan Pass Melody – Three Variations (Yang Guan San Die) starts with some subtle, slightly discordant string plucking. It’s beautifully eerie, and almost indescribable. It seems like a connection with a dark and turbalent Chinese history past. Some harmonics and beautiful playing are here, have a listen to this one. There are no backing instruments, just strange string plucking. Good effort all the same, however.
Bodhisattva-like Barbarians (Pu Sa Man) is an ancient Chinese Opera piece which actually sounds really excellent. The singing here is beautiful and breathtaking. It’s a nice and short piece of work to hear to this day. Great stuff, although a very short listen, once again.
Next is Qu Yuan s Lament (Li Sao) which is a lone string instrumental, with more eerie overtones about it. There are some good quality musical refrains and knowledge of Chinese musical history here. It’s a consistent and interesting listen for a solo instrumental piece, although it is over 10 minutes long. The dark side of majestic Chinese instrumental music is right here. It’s a good listen, especially with headphones. Great stuff. It’s a Chinese story tale set to music.
Following is Flowers And Jade Trees In The Backyard (Yu Shu Hou Ting Hua) which is another Chinese opera piece, delivered very beautifully. It’s a short and sweet listen, with some great traditional Chinese music accompaniment. It’s very quick.
Wang Zhaoyun (Wang Zhaoyun) is a short duel string piece which has the two melodies played alongside each other. It’s a good inspiration for those who like the idea of doubling melodies. It ends very quickly.
Poplars And Willows In Spring (Chun Yang Liu) is a short and interesting piece, mainly driven by percussion. A weird, yet addictive listen. It’s another oddity in this album, and series of collectable albums. Still, a good piece of music is here.
Next up is Rowing Dragon Boat (Fan Long Zhou) which is a wind instrument solo. It’s a very nice listen, and takes your mind back to Ancient times in China, and perhaps a said boat in question. Good effort here, once again.
The colourful sounding Dance Of Playing Swords (Jian Qi Hun Tuo) sounds very peculiar. It’s a great and short sounding piece, lasting only a minute or so. It’s still a necessary listen on this compilation, however.
Drunkard (Jiu Hu Zi) is an interesting title for such an instrumental. It has wind instruments and some great sounding plucked string instruments and Chinese classical music beats to go with it. Still, another great listen.
The Vast Desert (Da Mo Shu Huai) is a much longer track at nearly 8 minutes, devoted to travel across a desert, most likely. It starts softly, becoming focused particularly on a wind instrument solo, which has some strange whooshing noises in the background of this composition. It sounds very Middle Eastern, less Chinese. It’s an odd piece. After the wind instrument solo, it goes into a melancholy piece which is much more traditional. A sad lament of lonely travel, it is still a superb listen. In the second half, it becomes much louder at times. A very spacious and excellent instrument with a desert theme in mind.
Lastly, Prince Qin Breaking Through The Enemy Array (Qing Wang Po Zhen Yue) is a weird, weird piece. It does discordant and eerie for a Chinese Classical music piece, dark even. It has some Opera vocals here, adding to the craziness of the whole thing. What a weird way to end a record.
This is a good recording not just for Chinese history and culture fans, but for those who want a taste of darker sounds in Ancient Chinese music. That being said, this is another great album in this series of Ancient Chinese music, and one that you should seek out if you like the sound of it from this review.