D.F. / arr. Yu Deng
Emperor Kangxi (1654-1722) was crowned as a child but grew into one of China’s most celebrated and longest-reigning emperors, ruling for 61 years. This piece begins as massive gates open to the Forbidden City, the Qing Dynasty’s glittering palace. A majestic procession makes its way to the inner halls, where the new emperor holds court. Turbulent, running strings and sharp turns in theme and color give voice to the vicious power plays that will fuel the young sovereign’s lifelong aversion to political corruption. A trumpet sounds a call to action as unrest and rebellion compel Kangxi to travel to the edges of his empire. Galloping rhythms accompany him from southern jungles to vast northern plains as he forges peace. Finally, we return to the resplendent imperial capital. The court music of this coda celebrates the cultural legacy of Kangxi’s reign—the flourishing arts and sciences, the empire’s wealth and breadth, and his singular welcoming of outsiders, especially from the West. As Kangxi devotes his life to his people, he ushers in a golden age that lasts over 100 years.
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