Saturday, September 20, 2008

Zhang Ji (poet)

Zhang Ji , courtesy name Yisun , was a poet born in during the Tang Dynasty. He is credited under the name Chang Tsi as the author of the original Chinese text for the second movement of Das Lied von der Erde by Gustav Mahler. The movement's title is "Der Einsame im Herbst" in German and "The Lonely Soul of Autumn" in English. The lyrics lament the dying of flowers and the passing of beauty.

Zhang is also credited with an untitled work listed as ''Fengqiao Yebo'' in the classic anthology ''Three Hundred Tang Poems''.

The identity of Mahler's Chang Tsi, sometimes Tchang-Tsi and Ts'ien-Ts'i, has not been definitively determined because the Western translation of the name corresponds to several combinations of Chinese characters, and the text as adapted by Mahler, after very free treatment by more than one translator, is hard to match to a specific Chinese original. Some believe he is Chang Tsi whereas others think that he is his companion Chien Chi .

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