On Tuesday June 20, 5 -6 pm Peiyou Chang was invited by Mr. Michael Buening (Director of Programmiing) and Mr. Aaron Nicholson (Program Manager) at The China Institute, to perform and introduce the guqin music at the new office of The China Institute, located at 100 Washington Street, Manhattan New York to participate the Night at the Museums city festival.
China Institute is showcasing Dreams Of The Kings: A Jade Suit For Eternity: Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou.
The music and talk was started with Michael's welcoming everyone and introducing the qin player. Peiyou played a total of 6 pieces (please see the program notes). There was a little bit of introduction of the guqin instrument and its philosophy in between each piece starting from the 3rd piece.
Music program notes:
南風暢 Song of the Southern Wind, from 1549 edition. 7 min.
This melody uses only five strings (the Qin has seven strings), thereby honoring the tradition of "Emperor Shun playing a five string Qin and singing the lyrics of Southern Winds." (Lyrics of Shun sang: Wind from the south brings the fragrance of flowers and grass, can release my people's dissatisfaction and irritations. Wind from the south coming at the right time, can bring abundant wealth to my people.) Shun was a legendary leader of ancient China around 2294-2184 BCE.
瀟湘水雲 Misty Clouds Over Xiao and Xian River, from 1722 edition. 12 min.
This melody is attributed to the Southern Song Dynasty (1128-1276 AD) Qin player and poet Guo Chuwang. Perhaps listening to this piece, one can imagine looking at a long Chinese mountain and water scroll painting, there is flowing water, blowing wind, misty clouds, and a drifting boat with a lofty atmosphere.
石上流泉 Stream Water over Pebbles, from 1864 edition. 4 min.
Clear cold water falls from a cliff, becoming a stream, trickles through a forest, over pebbles, splashing. Flowing without knowing where it came from and where it goes, but may carry a long history of stories that could rejuvenate every life.
平沙落雁 Wild Geese Landing on a Sandy Shore, from Master Wu Zhao-ji's (1908-1997) edition. 5 min.
This melody has been played by many famous qin masters for the last three hundred years. In the crisp autumn weather, the wind is silent over the level sands, The clouds stretch endlessly across the horizon, the wild geese calling. In this piece, one can hear the sound of geese taking off, landing, beating their wings in the wind, and calling to each other.
梅花三弄 Three Variations on the Plum Blossom, from Master Wu Zhao-ji's (1908-1997) edition. 5 min.
This melody has also been a famous piece over the last three hundred years. Mei Hua San Nong is so called, because the one melody is repeated in three different variations of harmonics in three different positions on the instrument. The Plum blossom can withstand rigorous winters and still bloom and dance in the wind. Its whiteness and fragrance are delicate and beautiful, and have been used to describe those who have a noble personality in Chinese culture.
采真游 Cai Zhen You, from 1549 edition. 8 min.
This title is taken from the book Zhuangzi 莊子. Zhuangzi (369-298 BCE ) is the Daoist philosopher. Cai Zhen You is a Daoist qin piece. It means “seeking or picking the truth.” The composer is unknown. This piece was written before the Ming dynasty. According to the footnotes of Cai Zhen You from Xilutang Qintong (a Qin hand book published in 1549), this piece was not handed down for many generations. The person who found this piece and wrote the footnote thought that this piece presents the image of an Immortal being who disdains the world.
About the Performer
Peiyou Chang was born in Taipei, Taiwan. She has been playing and studying the Guqin since 2000, and is most influenced by Master Wu Zhao-Ji (1908-1997) from Suzho, China. She was taught initially by Mr. Yuan Jung-Ping. Peiyou has participated in numerous Guqin performances and activities in New York, Japan, Taiwan and China, and has given lectures about the Guqin at Kean University World Music Culture class in New Jersey, and Trinity Memorial Church in Binghamton NY. Peiyou is devoted to Guqin music reconstruction, composition, promotion and performance both solo and ensemble. (www.peiyouqin.com)