Poet Clara Hsu and Guqin master David Wong offer insights into the intricate relationship between word and music in ancient China.
They present Chinese classical poems in Cantonese (with English translation) with guqin music. The program includes a Guqin lament, renowned duets from the Tang Dynasty, and nature and tea poems. The presenters also share classical paintings that were part of classical literati expression.
The guqin, a seven-stringed zither, has been closely associated with poetry for more than 3000 years of Chinese history. The earliest poems to reference the qin are found in Shijing, The Book of Songs, from the 11th century BCE. The unique voice of the guqin delved into the soul of the poets and stirred their deepest feelings, until word and music coalesced and all senses were elevated.
Clara Hsu is a poet and translator. She is the director of Clarion Performing Arts Center in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
David Wong is a guqin master. He is the director of Tranquil Resonance Studio, a center promoting the learning and understanding of classical Chinese culture.