VOLUME 2, No.4 JOURNAL November 2001
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The Society's Members Perform

To conclude the conference, a number of New York Qin Society members performed pieces from the classical repertoire of the qin.

Performance Notes

Stephen Dydo
Yi Gu Ren / Memories of an Old Friend 憶故人

Yi Gu Ren is a comparatively modern work; it first appeared in print in 1937, and was probably written in the late Qing dynasty. Some people say that it is about the longing for an old friend; others say that it refers generally to nostalgia for bygone times; still others say that it was a subversive tune in the Qing, referring to the longing for a return of the Ming era. In any event, it is clearly a backward-looking piece.
--Stephen Dydo

Peiyou Chang
Ping Sha Luo Yan/ Wild Geese Flock to Sandy Shores 平沙落雁

Wild Geese Flock to Sandy Shores has been played by many famous qin masters for the last three hundred years. Like a number of other famous qin pieces, the authorship of the work is not that clearcut, but respect for its antiquity can be seen from its different attributions, one dating back to the 8-9th centuries of the Tang. "Wild Geese" was first published in a Ming dynasty qin handbook of 1634, the Gu Yin Zheng Zong Qin Pu (Orthodox Qin Handbook) and at one time was said to be the work of one of the following qin masters: the Ming dynasty Prince Ning (Zhu Quan, died 1448), Mao Minzhong of the late Southern Song (1127-1279), and Chen Zi'ang of the Tang dynasty (618-907 A.D.). Found in both painting and poetry, geese were taken as symbols of a lofty mind and high aspirations. The contemporary qin master Wu Zhaoji (died 1997) borrows this image to describe what is deep in a scholar's heart:
In the crisp autumn weather, the wind is silent over the level sands, The clouds stretch endlessly across the horizon, the wild geese calling.
--Chang Peiyou

John Thompson
Fan Canglang / Floating on the Canglang River 泛滄浪
Xiao Xiang Shui Yun / Clouds over the Xiao and Xiang Rivers 瀟湘水雲

This pair of melodies, both attributed to the famous Southern Song qin player Guo Chuwang, is played according to their earliest surviving versions, found in the Shen Qi mi pu (Handbook of Spiritual and Marvelous Mysteries) (1425). On the surface, the pieces evoke the beauty of two scenic regions of Hunan province. However, the clouds are said to block the view of the Jiuyi mountains, reputed home of the mythical emperor Yu Shun; this was an allegorical reference to the Southern Song being blocked from northern China by the alien Jin dynasty.
--John Thompson

Jung-ping Yuan
YU Ge / Fisherman's Song 漁歌

The complex history of "Fisherman's Song" reflects the lofty place that it holds in the qin musical repertory. Two Ming dynasty handbooks of (fin music, the Xi Lu Tang (fin tong (preface dated 1549) and the Shen Qi mi pu (preface dated 1425) identify the Song master Mao Minzhong as the composer, while the Qing dynasty handbook Wu Zhi Zhai ain pu (preface dated 1722) considers the composer to be the Tang poet Liu Zongyuan (died 819). At some point in its history, a brief section entitled "Ao ai" was added to the longer portion that was associated with Mao. Whatever the original date or composer, "Fisherman's Song " is one of the most highly regarded works by both qin players and historians. My teacher Wu Zhaoji (1908-1997) considered it to be the most profound of all works. Even though I have been seriously practicing it for many years, I still feel that I have only begun to plumb its depths.

The piece contains eighteen different sections evoking rivers, mountains, and lakeside scenery, the autumn season and moonlight, the birds and fishermen calls of, and other activities in the fishermen's timeless surroundings. Some sections imitate natural sounds, such as the plunking of oars against the water, while others suggest more abstract realms found in the mind. As the author of the Wu Zhi Zhai remarks:

"The mysteries of the five sounds [music] are difficult to speak about and to elucidate. For the feeling of the vast expanse of heaven and the immensity of earth, there is only the "Fisherman's Song "-- from the first passage to the last, the music flows forth, note after note, floating weightlessly like an immortal. In opening up what is in one's heart and in fully expressing one's ideas, it is a divine work."
-- Yuan Jung-ping

Members: Alan J. Berkowitz, Alex Chao, Peiyou Chang, Stephen Dydo, Matthew Flannery, Holly Grinnell, Willow Hai, Shida Kuo, Bo Lawergren, John Thompson, Marilyn Wong Gleysteen, Yuan Jung-Ping

to page 1. The Qin in the Song Dynasty
to page 2. The Archeology of the Qin

Copyright © 2002 New York Qin Society. All rights reserved.