Newsletter No. 453

8 453 • 19.2.2015 本刊由香港中文大学资讯处出版,每月出版两期。截稿日期及稿例载于 www.iso.cuhk.edu.hk/chinese/newsletter/ 。 The CUHK Newsletter is published by the Information Services Office, CUHK, on a fortnightly basis. Submission guidelines and deadlines can be found at www.iso.cuhk.edu.hk/english/newsletter/ . 陈庆恩教授 • 1992年崇基音乐系 • 2013香港艺术发展奖「年度最佳艺术家奖」 (音乐) • 香港大学音乐系系主任 可以略谈一下你自毕业之后的创作路吗? 毕业后,我取得中大两个奖学金,到美国伊利诺大学念硕士和 博士,1997年4月回港,其后曾在中大教授兼读课程,1998年加 入香港大学。起初当然没甚麽人找我作曲,不过我认真做好每 一份工作,渐渐找我的人多了,有乐团、舞团,也有个别演奏家, 最近期是香港艺术节委约创作《萧红》和《大同》两套歌剧,分 别在2013年和2015年演出。 只两三年内,你写了两套以近代中国人物为题材的歌剧, 为何会有这样的发展? 在器乐、声乐作品和舞剧音乐之后,更大挑战自然便是写歌 剧,因为在众多音乐类型里,歌剧牵涉的艺术范畴可说最为复 杂。2011年是 萧红 百岁诞辰,艺术节在翌年找我写歌剧。我觉 得 意珩 的剧本很有诗意,况且导演是我渴望合作已久的 黎海 宁 ,这样的黄金机会,我当然充分把握。至于《大同》,多少是 因艺术节认为《萧红》的合作颇为成功,再找我与编剧 陈耀成 先生和导演 邓树荣 先生合作。跟不同类型不同取向的艺术家合 作得愈多,学到的东西也愈多。 你希望在这两套华语「室内歌剧」里试验些什么? 室内歌剧对比三四小时的大型歌剧,无论在配器、人数、布景和 舞台设计方面,规模都较简单,制作费也较低,适合用作尝试起 点。最大问题是词与乐的结合,中文是声调语言,增加了入乐的 难度。把人声与歌词和乐器好好结合,营造张力,过渡起承转 合,推进个多小时的剧情,并非易事。 中国元素是否贯串你作品的特质? 所谓「中国元素」很难界定,我不想、甚至有点想摆脱别人界定 我是一个常用中国元素的作曲家。创作人因应成长过程、音乐 经验而储备自己独特的音乐语言,有人会觉得我把中国乐器或 中国元素运用得特别好,也有人认定我长于融合中西,会定下 一些配器框限,反倒很少听听我希望怎样写。我则自认二胡也 好,小提琴也好,擅长捕捉每种乐器不可替代的特性,才是贯串 我作品的特质,多于所谓的「中国元素」。 除了取材中国之外,音乐的「中国色彩」可体现在什么地 方? 「中国色彩」是评论人也是创作人的迷思。你不会觉得一个德 国或美国作曲家需要写一首德国或美国音乐,唯是你会希望中 国作曲家有些中国元素。作曲家在非自己的土壤推出作品时,有 时会过分强调「我是个中国作曲家」。有些所谓中国元素是非 常表面的,若说五声音阶就是中国音乐的话,那麽整首都用五 声音阶的 Auld Lang Syne 岂不便是中国音乐了?我不想刻意经 营,也不希望流于表面,好像用一段中国旋律配上西洋和声便 算。我希望是比较深层次的,例如西方音乐很多时用和声作终 止式,但中国音乐多会利用速度和音色变化。如何用其他方法 构建中国音乐,反而是我思考得更多的问题。 回顾中大岁月,什么最可贵? 当时音乐系还是自成一角,有自己的建筑物,资源是全港最好 的,影音图书馆是我们考试期间通宵留守的地方。练琴时偶尔 会见到蛇出没,晚上蚊子又叮得厉害,但那种像一家人的氛围非 常难得。最可贵是小班教学的互动交流,有些课是一位老师对 着两三个学生,不断发问,在你苦思不得其解的时候, 纪大卫 教 授突如其来的一句笑话就把你任督二脉都打通了。现在我教音 乐理论,也会冲口而出用上纪教授当年的一些箴言。 对于有意以作曲为业的后学,有什么提点? 我到美国念书的时候,也思考过这个问题。一位中大师兄对我 说:「不用想了,死路一条!把书读完再算吧!」想想付出的努力 与金钱回报,真的不成正比。不过,读艺术和从事创作都源于 热情,近乎宗教和爱情,有那种需要才会去追求。有兴趣,自知 有才能,那就不要多想前途甚麽的。香港近年音乐创作和发表 空间比我读书的时候大多了,路是会慢慢走出来的;我就是这 样走过来的。 请扫描QR码阅读全文版 Scan the QR code for the full version 观看录像,请扫描QR码或浏览以下网址: To watch the video, please scan the QR code or visit: www.iso.cuhk.edu.hk/video/?nsl453-chan-hing-yan soil, the identity of a ‘Chinese composer’ is somewhat overemphasized. Some so-called Chinese elements are very superficial. People tend to equate the pentatonic scale with Chinese music. If it is that simple, is Auld Lang Syne , which is entirely pentatonic, Chinese music? I don’t want to be too artificial or superficial, like conveniently assigning chords in Western music to a Chinese melody. I want to do it with some depth. Let’s say, the cadence in Western music is usually presented in form of chord progression, but in Chinese music, it is usually expressed by changes in tempo and tone colour. I’m actually more concerned with exploring ways to build up the architecture for Chinese music. What do you most treasure in your CUHK years? I remember the Department of Music then was housed in a small hub in its own building. We had the best musical resources in Hong Kong and we used to stay overnight in the audio-visual library during the exam season. We were occasionally visited by snakes in the studio, and swamps of mosquitoes in the evening. But staying together like a family is something unforgettable. I treasured the days of small classes when student-teacher ratio was low and interaction was close. Sometimes one teacher attended to only two to three students. The teacher would keep asking questions. As we racked our brains for an answer, Prof. David Gwilt would use his casual humourous remark to enlighten us. His words of wisdom are so useful that I would quote them as if they are mine when I teach music theories now. What advice would you give to young students who aspire to take up composition as their profession? I did give some thought to making a living on composition when I went abroad for my postgraduate studies in the US. An upperclassman from CUHK told me, ‘Forget it, it’s a dead end! Don’t worry about it until you complete your studies.’ To be honest, the effort is disproportionate to the monetary reward. But the studies in arts and creative work are both driven by passion, which is close to religious fervour and love. So if you have interest and know that you’ve got the talent, don’t think too much about the prospects. Just do it. Here in Hong Kong, the room for musical creation and publication has grown tremendously in recent years than when I was a student. You will find your path ultimately. I’ve also come along slowly step by step. Prof. Chan Hing-yan • Music, Chung Chi College, 1992 • Award for Best Artist (Music), Hong Kong Arts Development Awards 2013  • Chairperson, Department of Music, University of Hong Kong Can you tell us how you fared on composition after graduating from the CUHK? I obtained two scholarships from CUHK to pursue my master’s and doctoral studies at the University of Illinois in the US. After returning to Hong Kong in April 1997, I taught some part-time programmes at the Chinese University and joined the University of Hong Kong in 1998. Predictably, I didn’t get many commissioned composition jobs at the beginning. However, I did give my best whenever there was one. Gradually more people came to know about me and I started to work with orchestras, dance troupes and virtuosi. The more recent ones include two operas commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF)— Heart of Coral in 2013 and Datong, the Chinese Utopia in 2015. You have written two chamber operas within a couple of years, both based on historical figures in modern China. Why so? After working on instrumental and vocal music, and also music for dance drama for so many years, I’m prepared for a bigger challenge. Opera seems to be a justified choice since it involves practically the most complicated combination of art forms in all musical genres. The year 2011 marked the 100th year of Xiao Hong ’s birth. The HKAF asked me in 2012 to write an opera on this female writer. I found the script written by Yi Heng very poetic, and the crew, with Helen Lai as director, irresistible. So I grabbed the golden opportunity to write my first opera— Heart of Coral . Building on the successful collaboration, the HKAF got me to work with librettist Mr. Evans Chan and director Tang Shu-wing . I’ve learnt a lot through cooperating with artists in various fields. What do you want to experiment in the two Chinese chamber operas? Chamber opera, in comparison with full-blown opera of three to four hours in duration, is produced on a much smaller scale in terms of instrumentation, cast, stage set-up and design, and budget. So it is a good starting point for a first-time opera composer. The biggest issue is how to fit the words to music. Chinese, being a tonal language, makes it even more difficult. It’s really not easy to blend in the human voice, libretto and instruments to create dramatic intensity and tell the story in an hour or so. Is it apt to say that Chinese elements are typical of your works? It’s difficult to define ‘Chinese elements’. I don’t want to be labelled as a composer who habitually employs Chinese elements. A composer gathers various musical experiences in his process of growth and development, which help shape his own musical language. Some people may think I’m well versed in using Chinese instruments or Chinese elements, while others may consider that I’m good at integrating the East and the West. Some will lay down for me some parameters for instrumentation, without bothering to know how I would like the music to be written. I would say I’m good at capturing the irreplaceable characteristics of different instruments, be it erhu or violin, and this profound knowledge in instruments, rather than the so-called Chinese elements, is consistently found in my works. How do Chinese elements find their place in music, other than a Chinese background? ‘Chinese elements’ is a myth to both reviewers and composers. You won’t ask a German or American composer to write music in a German or American manner, but you will definitely expect a Chinese composer to feature something Chinese. When a composer introduces his work on alien Photo by ISO staff

RkJQdWJsaXNoZXIy NDE2NjYz