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Music of the Week • Wild Geese Descending on a Sandbank

Wild Geese Descending on a Sandbank

BIAN Shou Min (1683–1752)

Hanging scroll; ink and colour on paper

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston

The New Year has gotten to a rotten start.

On Saturday – departing for France – I had never seen so many people wearing masks at Singapore Changi Airport.

And it’s no consolation to discover –  just now – an article from Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post that on 1 January 2020, Wuhan Police arrested eight people “who had recently spread rumours on the pneumonia-like illness”.

Incidentally, SCMP (owned by Jack Ma of Alibaba), is banned in China. The above report is at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3048042/chinas-top-court-hits-out-wuhan-police-over-coronavirus-rumour.

Another report also mentioned that a medical doctor working in Wuhan who shared his concerns – in December 2019 – on social media was admonished by his superior.

Greetings from Cremona, the birthplace of Antonio Stradivari (1644 – 1737).

I think the violin maker would enjoy today’s Music of the Week.

Pingsha Luoyan or Wild Geese Descending on a Sandbank is one of the best-loved pieces for the qin, the 7-string instrument most identified with Chinese scholars. (During the Han Dynasty (BC 206 – 220 AD), it was a 4-string instrument).

Listen to the tranquillity Pingsha Luoyan evokes with your eyes closed.

It’s performed by the great ZHANG Ziqian (1899–1991).

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