D.F. / arr. YU DENGThe orchestra’s rumbling introduction heralds the rise of a new emperor. In his youth, Tang Taizong had persuaded his father to rebel against the corrupt Sui Dynasty and establish the Tang Dynasty. Succeeding his father to become the dynasty’s second ruler, Emperor Taizong brought the Middle Kingdom to the heights of civilization in what is now considered China’s cultural golden age. In this grand composition, themes constantly shift to mirror the speed of change under Taizong. Combative strains give way to a stately melody, and the striking of the gong brings us to the imperial palace. Foreign emissaries offer tribute as the pipa and erhu play melodies from far-off regions along the Silk Road. Next, dignified bells usher in the harmonies of ancient ritual music reserved for ceremonies honoring the heavens. The final resplendent themes express hope that the great Tang Dynasty will forever be honored by future generations.