Jianmin Wang: Night Mooring by Maple Bridge
Guzheng: Dailin Hsieh / Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra, Tien-Ku Percussion Group / Chih Sheng Chen / National Concert Hall, Taipei, Taiwan, 2012.7.21
Night Mooring by Maple Bridge is based on a famous Tang Dynasty (618-907AD) poem by
“The crows at moonset cry, streaking the frosty sky
Facing dim fishing boats neath maples, sad I lie.
Beyond the city wall, from Hanshan Temple
Bells break the ship-borne roamer’s dream in midnight still.”
The poet Zhang Ji left only a few works for us, but Mooring by Maple Bridge at Night touched many people’s hearts. One year, Zhang Ji took part in an examination in which all his friends passed but him. Being very unhappy, he decided to travel to Suzhou to relax. In this beautiful city, Zhang Ji travelled around by boat. As evening approached, he asked the old boatman to anchor the boat by Maple Bridge as he did not want to go any further. He hoped that a good night’s sleep would help put him in a better mood. However, as the boat swayed gently in the water, Zhang Ji could not fall asleep. He thought of the years he had spent studying, the hopes of his parents and grandmother, and the weight of their disappointment. Finally, he abandoned the idea of sleep and decided to sit outside. Zhang Ji watched the moon as it set down beyond the maple trees and disappeared. He heard a crow call from the trees and saw the lights along the river
extinguish. The chilly autumn wind blew and Zhang Ji could hear the bell from Hanshan Temple ringing in the distance. Zhang Ji, feeling lonely and homesick, wrote this famous poem.
The composer, Jianmin Wang integrates the elements of Kunqu Opera, Suzhou folk songs, Silk and Bamboo style, and other musical forms and tone features, creating a delicate and elegant work for guzheng and Chinese orchestra.