JING XIANIn the fourth century, a group of Chinese literati gathered on the banks of a meandering stream to sip wine and write poetry. Rejoicing in each other’s company, and yet keenly aware of how fleeting their time together ultimately was, they produced some of the most celebrated works of Chinese poetry and calligraphy. In this composition inspired by their story, a contemplative pipa imitates the mellow tones of the qin—the scholar’s instrument of choice. Here the pipa thus plays in its lower register, using qin-like wide vibrato, glissandos, and the occasional harmonic. As the piece develops, interweaving melodies flow like powerful calligraphic brushstrokes, giving rise to a poetic verse that transcends the ages.