2009年3月26日 星期四

Early musicians of Danshui

(Left: Mr Chen Sizhi 陳泗治, 1911-1992)

A frequent commentator of this blog Mr Cowsill has expressed interests in Danshui-ren's contribution to literature. The contribution, to us, is actually multifaceted. We'll start by re-visiting the musical scene based on Mr Anonymous's recent comment on piano teachers - two are mentioned, Mr 陳泗治 and 德姑娘 (Miss Isabel Taylor - TeGoNiu). The latter was seen around town usually on a bike. They are also remembered in the following:

In 1872 the Canadian Presbyterian mission settled in the north of the island, in Danshui (also written Tamshui, nearby Taibei). In their schools, music was considered as a subject matter worth of being taught as all the others. Obviously, as for Dutch and Spanish two century before, they were aware of the importance of music as a tool for evangelization; so it’s no wonder that, in those years from 1859-60 to 1895 (the beginning of the Japanese occupied period) teaching western music still meant to empathize mainly the religious aspect especially for gospels and psalms. In this period, amongst those who received these rudiments of music there were not only aborigines but also a great deal of Chinese (hanren漢人) emigrated from the mainland, Hakka and other Chinese minorities. In the English Presbyterian mission [in the south], those who had the responsibility of teaching music were Rev. David Smith (Shi Dapi mushi 施大闢牧師), Miss Sabine Elizabeth Mackintosh (Du Xueyun gu-niang 杜雪雲姑娘), Mrs. Montgomery (Man Xiongcai mushi-niang 滿雄才牧師娘) and L. Singleton (Shenyiguo xuan jiaoshi 沈毅郭宣教師). In the Canadian Presbyterian mission, the greatest contribute in music education was due to the efforts of Rev. George Leslie Mackay (Ma xie mushi 馬偕牧師, Miss Hannah Connell (Gao Hana gu-niang 高哈拿姑娘), Mrs. Margaret Mellis Gauld (Wu Weilian mushiniang 吳威廉牧師娘) and Miss Isabel Taylor (De Mingli gu-niang 德明利姑娘). Looking from the perspective of piano music teaching, the latter two held certainly the most important role. Mrs. Margaret Gauld [1867 - 1960], on the basis of the accounts of her students, was an extraordinary musician and teacher with a wide cultural background. She arrived in Taiwan in 1892 and remained there for 31 years, supporting Taiwan’s first generation most talented musicians and composers. When she arrived in Taiwan, there was neither a person who had seen a “piano” before, so in this sense, she’s considered the pioneer of piano teaching in Taiwan. Miss Isabel Taylor [1909 - 1992] arrived in Taiwan in 1931 and continued on the same way of Mrs. Gauld. Miss Taylor was, in all intents and purposes, a pianist: she was born in Scotland but her family soon emigrated to Canada. In 1931, after the graduation at the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music, she immediately decided to go to Taiwan where she started teaching music in the Danshui Girls’ School. After a short while in which she went to the States to attend advanced courses at the Westminster College, she came back to Taiwan where she remained until 1973. Amongst her students, there were the composer Chen Sizhi 陳泗治, the pianist Ms. Wu Shulian 吳淑蓮 (soloist of the YMCA Oratorio Society), the musicians Lin Shuqing 林淑卿, Chen Ren’ai 陳仁愛, Chen Xinzhen 陳信貞 and more.

[Note: The Chinese names of the missionaries shown above are in Mandarin pronunciation - quoted verbatim from the original report. In real life, the missionaries would've been addressed in Taiwanese when they lived and worked in Taiwan.]

[Mr Chen Sizhi composed the following:]

• 幻想曲 - 淡水 (Fantasia - Danshui), 1938
• 台灣素描 (Taiwan Sketches), 1939
• 爹地與我 (Daddy and I), 1945
• 回憶 (Memories), 1947
• 夜曲 (Nocturne), 1950
• 降D大調練習曲 (Etude in D flat major), 1958
• 龍舞 (Dragon Dance), 1958
• 幽谷 - 阿美狂想曲 (Deep Valley - Amei Rhapsody), 1978

[Source: "Taiwanese composers and piano works in the XX Century: Traditional Chinese culture and the Taiwan Xin Yinyue" by Luca Pisano, in Kervan Rivista Internazionale di studii afroasiatici n. 1 – gennaio 2005.]

5 則留言:

  1. Chen Sizhi's native town is Shi-Lin where he was born. Moved to Tamsui in 1947, he made Tamsui his 2nd hometown. He then moved to Los Angeles, CA and died there, the orange county is his 3rd hometown. Frequent changes for those people, including ourselves are not only hometowns but also nationalities, unfortunately.

  2. Mr Chen went to Tam Kang High School where he immediately fell in love with the piano. And because so many also wanted to practice, it was limited to one hour/person/day. He had to practice after mid-night when everyone was sound asleep and covered the piano with a blanket so as not to disturb others.

    I see his three hometowns as different stages of his life. The same is probably applicable to the rest of us.

  3. Very interesting to find 陳信貞's name. She was the pianist for my parents' wedding and her only daughter married a big cousin of mine.
    It is surely is a small world.
    Your hometown is such a musical town, terrific!

  4. 陳信貞女士 (1910-1999), a graduate of Danshui Girls' High, founded 台中婦女鋼琴研究所 in 1933, and taught at 臺中女中 for 30 years after the war. She was the most famous piano teacher in Taichung area also an avid railway traveler. The only two male students of hers, 呂泉生 and 辜振甫, started 榮星合唱團.

    I am happy to know that there is a Danshui connection of your family through 陳女士.

  5. Dear Eye Doc:

    Thank you for providing more detailed history about 陳信貞女士. She had named her only daughter in memory of her husband.(詹懷德 女士 is also a very accomplished pianist)

    Glad to know more history about your home town.
    Very impressed of its musical inheritance.