D.F. / arr. JING XIANThe gentle plucking of the pipa, often used to represent feminine grace, opens this piece. It is followed by swiftly strummed octaves as the harp mimics the mellow tones of the guzheng, a Chinese zither. These early “brushstrokes” bring us to a scene known to many of China’s dynasties: a reclusive courtyard brimming with blossoms. A group of elegant ladies appear, holding circular silk fans adorned with images of birds and flora, or perhaps their own calligraphy. A bird speaks through the flute, a breeze through the strings. Pipa and harp return, as if time has stopped in the courtyard, and a Chinese painting comes to life.