The guanzi is a Chinese double-reed instrument that came to China from the West. Originally called the bili, it is said that it was introduced in China around the year 384 from the ancient land of Kucha, which is today the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of West China. For many centuries, the bili has been the most important instrument at the Chinese court, playing, somehow, the role of the first violin of the Western orchestra. Since its introduction, it went through many changes. The modern guanzi has eight finger holes, seven on top and one below (while the bili had nine holes). We hear on this CD one of today's great masters of the instrument, Hu Zhihou. Respectful of the tradition Chinese repertoire, he also is an avant-garde musician, bringing the instrument into the future. He is being accompanied here by zheng (table zither), sheng (mouth organ), and percussion. Enchanting music!
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Bruno Deschênes