Programme Notes

    In 138 BC, the emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty sent his general Zhang Qian to contact a western tribe to solicit help to fight invaders from the north. After 13 years of arduous journeys, adventures and misadventures, Zhang Qian returned with news of a stronger and faster breed of horse to help in the wars. Thought to be of celestial origin, these now extinct horses were the compelling motivation behind the opening of a permanent route to the west of China and beyond. This work was commissioned by the Orchid Ensemble through the Commissioning of Canadian Compositions program of the Canada Council for the Arts.