Sat, Apr 18, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Exhibition on folk song master in June

By Yang Yuan-ting and Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The 110th birthday of Teng Yu-hsien (鄧雨賢), known as the father of Taiwanese folk songs, will be marked in June with an exhibition showcasing his original scores, photographs and collections at the National Central Library in Taipei.

Born in 1906 in Taoyuan during the Japanese colonial period, Teng first encountered Western music when studying at Taipei Normal School in 1921. He left a teaching position in 1929 to study music composition in Japan.

Several of Teng’s works remain popular to this day, including April Rain (四月望雨), Sadness in a Moonlit Night (月夜愁), Yearning for Spring (望春風) and Flowers in a Rainy Night (雨夜花).

The exhibition will showcase Teng’s manuscripts of Lonely Flower (閒花嘆) in their entirety for the first time, said his grandson and exhibition curator Teng Tai-chao (鄧泰超).

Scored for the violin, piano, saxophone and other musical instruments, Lonely Flower was the first Taiwanese song that incorporated the Western concept of chamber music, marking a new epoch in Taiwanese music’s landscape, Teng Tai-chao said, adding that the sheet music to be exhibited is also the most completely preserved of the composer’s surviving scores.

Another highlight of the exhibition will be Teng Yu-hsien’s photographs taken with musician Jiang Wen-ye (江文也), one of the first classical musicians of Asian descent to gain international recognition and a close lifelong friend of the composer, Teng Tai-chao said.

Residents’ Song (市民之歌), which was composed by Teng Yu-hsien’s teacher, Ichijo Shinzaburo, for Taipei residents and thought to be lost for a long time, will be played at the exhibition.

The show will also include a set of rare phonograph records of Japanese military songs adapted from Teng Yu-hsien’s most popular hymns, which were recast for propaganda purposes by the Japanese government in an apparent effort to “Japanize” Taiwanese.

Teng Yu-hsien was indignant at the Japanese abuse of his musical legacy and left Taipei for Hsinchu to serve as a primary-school teacher. He died of dysentery at the age of 39.

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