Date: 22 April 2002
Place: New York Scholar's Garden, Staten Island
Attending: Chang Peiyou, Stephen Dydo, Matthew Flannery, John Thompson, Marilyn Wong, Yip Mingmei, Jung-ping Yuan
Guests: Frank Soong, Judith Whitbeck (curator of the garden), Eva Wen, Xin Ke-Quan (seal carver, Huangshan, Anhui) and his granddaughter Xin Shilong, Ellen Zweig (film maker)
Minutes: Matthew, with thanks to Marilyn & Peiyou
The spring meeting took place in the New York Scholar's Garden in Snug Harbor on the north shore of Staten Island. Snug Harbor is a former retired sailor's home now converted to a cultural center that is home to a patchwork of often unusual projects and programs. We met in one of the garden's two meeting rooms. With members slow to arrive as they wound their way to the garden through the back streets of north Staten Island, the first arrives improvised a playing table, then wandered over to the garden's main pavilion, which hosted an excellent display of scholars' rocks. The rocks were from the former collection of Hu Kaozang, one of the most important collectors of scholars' rocks in recent times. Hu died in 1996, depositing parts of his collection in, for example, the Guqi Garden in Shanghai. The balance of the stones now belong to his daughter, Hu Kemin; it is from these that the current show was selected. Some specimens were of particularly high quality, and the exhibit included representatives of a wide variety of stone types, including some of unusual conformation as well as samples of the widening taste in stones characteristic of the last century.
We adjourned to the Shug Harbor cafe in one of five "cottages" that once housed the Harbor's staff. Over and assortment of drinks and food, including a pot of fine tea brewed by Judith in a prize teapot, the members discussed several topics. Stephen, announcing that membership dues for 2002 were now payable, managed to collect some. He also proposed new society offices that, informally already functioning, be made official. The first was the office of Corresponding Secretary. While Stephen had been performing this duty, he was becoming burdened with also being both Treasurer and (informally) Webmaster. Therefore, it was agreed by acclamation, Marilyn was made Corresponding Secretary and Stephen, Webmaster.
Judy invited the Society to meet at the Scholar's Garden as often as they liked. She proposed that members consider opening the performance parts of their meetings to the public. She also said that the Garden's main pavilion could be used for displaying qins. It was agreed that this generous proposal will be discussed at the future meeting.
To begin, I shaped fine silk from Chi
The "double joy" in line three refers to the two sides of the fan, usually covered with calligraphy and painting --- and to author and emperor. John concluded his talk by playing a second work, "Han Gong Qiu" ("The Han Palace in Autumn").
Then Marilyn repeated "Yang Guan San Die" singing the lyrics and with Jung-Ping accompanying the melody with the flute (xiao). Aside from a quick run-through the day before, this was the first time that the two had performed this piece as a duo.
Peiyou discussed a Ming qin notebook of 1588 compiled by Yan Biaozhen that was reproduced from a copy in the National Library of Taiwan. She also handed out a few pages from Van Gulick's Lore of the Chinese Lute in which he mentions Yang Biaozhen (p.185; see also pp. 71, 76). She performed "Tiao Xian Ru Nong," a short tuning pieces. Peiyou played the beginning of the piece as far as she had mastered it, and then John picked through the entire work unrehearsed to give a rough idea of its sound. She and John discuss the piece, which is found in the qin manual Xing Kan Zheng Wen Due Yin Jei Yiao Qing Pu Zhen Chuan. Lastly, Peiyou performed "Ou Lu Wang Ji" ("Seagulls without Guile"), a work discussed in more detail in the Journal of September 2001.
Mingmei concluded the meeting by playing "Mei Hua San Nong"('Three Variations on the Tune "Plum Blossoms"') from the Chun Cao Tang Qing Pu (Spring Brass Hall Qin Manual), while Jung-Ping performed "Ping Sha Luo Yan" ("Wild Geese Descend to Sandy Shores") from the Qu Yin Zheng Cong Qin Pu (Orthodox Qin Manual) of 1634.
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