听尺八的悠远空寂 听古筝的铿锵抑扬 听长安城的笙歌乐舞 觥筹交错的喧嚣
听纷扬的樱雨 听绚烂唯美的生存与寂灭 听东渡千年的盛唐余音 在历史的浪潮中回荡
Crimson candlelight illuminates the dark night. The silence is broken by the cacophony of chatter and cups hastily placed on tables only to be lifted away immediately. The gentle song of a biwa somehow breaks through all of it, as if on a different plane. The ethereal shakuhachi weaves its song from beneath a gauze canopy. The thunderous roar of the drums resonate throughout the floors of the inn, penetrating deep into its corners, making way for the wave of memories that ensue. Even after more than a millennium, the huqin still plays its aching song, the moon above accompanying it through dynasty after dynasty, long after the city has fallen to ruin and disappeared from living memory.
The Tang capital Chang’an, now known as Xi’an, was during its heyday in 14th century one of the world’s most populous cities, and an impressive cosmopolitan center of economy, politics and culture, which gave rise to incredible breakthroughs in music. Throughout the beautiful, gilded palace halls song and dance were always to be heard, and were a treat for anyone fortunate enough to witness them first-hand. This splendid musical array soon caught the attention of the kentoushi (Japanese ambassadors to Tang China), who for the next two centuries would study these arts, and bring their knowledge of them, along with musical scores and instruments, across the raging sea back to their homeland, thus perpetuating the culture of the Tang dynasty there. These bold songs from Daming Palace could be heard throughout the castles of Japan, during festive banquets and solemn ceremonies, inspiring many poets to leave behind works full of vigor and sadness. Even in the Zen gardens of Buddhist temples, as the monks strolled past the falling cherry blossom petals, they would play melodies originating from the Great Tang. And on the banks of rivers in the countryside, young cowherd boys would hum tunes, not knowing how far they travelled to reach them.
Rhymoi Music producer Ye Yunchuan, has been fascinated by classical Chinese music since his childhood, and has cultivated a deep understanding and affection for it. In 2018, his album Moonlight glow over Dunhuang, showed the world the marvel that is the rich history of Dunhuang Grottoes and the Tang Dynasty. Here, he once again is driven by his deep admiration for Chinese classical music to bring the listener to the most important curator of Tang culture—Japan. Though the original palaces of Chang’an no longer stand, its spirit still lives on. Mr. Ye has called upon a group of talented musicians from both Japan and China, and in a 1200-seat music hall in Kanagawa, reveals a stunning portrayal of Chinese folk music and Japanese hogaku, featuring improvised performances of classic pieces. The shakuhachi, Japanese flute, Japanese biwa and taiko drums all originated from Tang China, and today Japan is the world’s greatest purveyor of extant classical songs from this era. The Outstanding young instrumentalist Mao Ya plays the guzheng and other Chinese instruments, to shape the dialogue with a range of Japanese instruments for an incredible cultural exchange spanning millennia.
This album is the most theatrical and tightly crafted work of Ye Yunchuan’s professional career spanning more than 15 years. The classic Japanese song Moon over City Ruins, which he played onstage on the guitar at the age of 13 left a deep impression on him that would shape his future life and career, serves as the main inspiration for the album. The song creates a philosophical atmosphere of a desolate and lonesome landscape. Cascades and crescendos punctuate the score, tranporting the listener to a time when life was simpler yet still full of tumult, as captured so elegantly by the films of Kurosawa Akira. Traditional Japanese folk songs like Song of the Mogami River and Net Pulling Canzonet(Solan Bushi), with their gentle, relaxing melodies, evoke the rustic countryside of feudal Japan. With the addition of Chinese folk songs, like Boxwood Carrying Pole and Rainy Day, the grassroots, rustic feel is given additional flavor and authenticity.
Ye Yunchuan has once again created a bridge spanning cultures, drawn together through a spectrum of emotions, taking you to the homeland of hogaku, and even further back to where it originated, giving you a small yet satisfying taste of this incredible era of musical history. Amidst the myriad stars, high above the ever restless clouds, sits the cool, translucent moon, always silent yet always watching, as generation after generation takes the world we live in in a new direction. Such a patient and loyal guardian deserves a musical homage of epic proportions.