Ho Wai-On 何蕙安 aka Ann-Kay Lin

Music is Happiness

CD & book

樂在其中》 音樂光碟和冊子


16 August Update  8月16日更新 (加上頗多中文)

My response to J D Morley's complete comments

Eve Telford ― new addition on Comments

HERE'S WHAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SAYING ABOUT IT...

以下是BBC工作者,劍橋大學學者,德國科學學者,鄧兆楷和愛爾蘭民歌手講的


Clark Ainsworth (BBC London)

I've played it many times and have enjoyed what I've heard.


Mark Argent (composer/cellist/editor/designer...)

The CD sounds super – Ann-Kay should be very proud of it.


Dr Uli Bommer (bio-chemist, University of London lecturer & researcher)

I like it – the music and the book. Interesting stuff!


Albert Tang 鄧兆楷 (architect/artist, studied piano with Peter Katin)

FAREWELL MY BELOVEDImpression of An Opera (CD Track 9): I feel an instant rapport with this piece mainly due to my Chinese opera orientated childhood and background. It is really quite courageous and ingenious of Ann-Kay (i.e. Ho Wai-On) to interpret this famous drama with only a single instrument – the clarinet. The range of the instrument was fully explored so as to depict the two extreme characters namely, the strong and powerful Xian Yu the Conqueror and the intimate and serene Lady Yu.  Listening to the work, I could almost visualise the robust facial expressions and gestures of Xian Yu, complimented by the elegant and serene movements of Lady Yu, not to mention the dramatic dialogues exchanged. The application of subtle percussive effect adds to the tension of the drama and is well executed, although a more dramatic and crescendo built-up towards the suicidal finale would be most desirable.

TO YOU (CD Track 8): The sitar-like introductory scale, beautifully played on the piano, sends an instant chill to my spine due to its authentic portrayal of the instrument.  The yearning melodic lines of the voice, echoed tenderly by the delicate piano compliment, can also be heard, from time to time, treading closely  behind the piano like a shadow, with occasional rhythmic punctuation chords resembling the Indian tabla.  It is indeed an extremely innovative, sensuous and hypnotic piece of music which I couldn't help listening to endlessly.  I like every piece and listen to the CD almost daily.  The concept of the CD book is excellent.  

(N.B. Albert Tang's father was a Cantonese opera lead performer and regarded as one of the best, especially in his style of singing. His mother was also a Cantonese opera performer. – HWO)    

鄧兆楷父母都是粵劇老倌,父親更是大老倌,頗收集梅蘭芳,我特別喜歡他在以上寫的,尤其是有關我作的《霸王別姫》,將會選譯。

New: 12 August 8月12日更新 ― from Eve Telford, folk singer

"Your book and CD have given me such delight. It has helped me to discover wellsprings of art and culture that I know little about, and reminded me of others that I hadn't visited for a long time. Your own biography is so fascinating and moving... Sakura Variations was one that touched me even more deeply than most of your works. I lived in Kyoto from the age of one to the age of four. It had a great effect on me...   My other favourite is Farewell My Beloved. It has given me my first glimpse of Chinese opera, something which I will return to "  


以上是一位愛爾蘭民歌手寫的,她說《樂在其中》光碟和冊子令她發現了一些她以前不知道的和重溫久違了的一些藝術和文化,我的人生令她著迷和感動。她最喜歡光碟第一首以日本民歌為靈感的《櫻花變奏》,因為她從一歲到四歲住在日本京都,這經歷對她有很大的影響。她另一個最愛是第六首《霸王別姬》,這使她對中國戲曲有點初步的了解。

Complete Comments on Music is Happiness by J D Morley


I received the following 28 Oct 2007 email from John David Morley after sending my CD & book Music is Happiness to him:

以下是英國有名作家约翰·大衞·摩利評論《樂在其中》的全文,不敢翻譯有名作家寫的,但從以下我的一些回應大概可以知道點他説了些什麼。


Serendipitous! At just this moment I was about to write to you about your music.

  

Now, I found all of these pieces very interesting and enjoyable to listen to. I would not select any particular one as a favourite. The selection is good because it presents such a varied scope of musical intentions.

  

There is a lot to say. The first is about the qualities I associate with your music from the impression of all eleven pieces.

  

Strong, with clear lines, decisive, most dramatic - I understand how you have become involved with ballet - intelligent, and well, yes, possessing a kind of masculinity, perhaps surprising in view of the romantic and quite feminine lyricism of the accompanying texts. My one criticism is the obsoleteness of the language in which these texts have been written. You should be using a modern idiom, in accordance with the more modern idiom of the music that the texts accompany.

  

These last two qualities, namely of intelligence and masculinity, I associate with two other well-known Chinese women I have met in the course of my life. One is Han Su Yin. The other is Margaret Leng Tan. Both are strong women, so I guess that in the course of your life, having begun as anything but a strong person, you have become one. You must have grown and matured in ways you could not possible have foreseen yourself.

(Ho Wai-On: Though I know of her, I don’t know the late Chinese-born Eurasian author Han Suyin 韓素音 personally, yet once I happened to sit opposite her on a London Underground train and was captivated by her striking features. As for the Singapore-Chinese pianist Margaret Leng Tan 陳靈, I met her once when I was in New York, and remember her big hands. I am almost certain I went to her London recital some time after that, where she performed unusual music – probably including music for prepared piano.)


The effect in almost all cases is that of a dramatic performance. The drama is foremost. There is urgency in this music. Making it has mattered to the composer. Listening to it matters to the audience. Thank you for giving me a chance to hear it.

  

With best wishes,

  

David



J D Morley then sent the following email to comment further:


The effect of the lyrics is like reading the translation of something written (perhaps in Chinese?) long ago. If this is what you intend, please ignore the following.


Some of the words are archaic: "alas", " 'neath" are examples. The main problem, however, is that you are using a Romantic idiom that was characteristic of poetry written in the early to late nineteenth century.


Examples: bitter sweetness of love, so wretched and sorrowful, ghostly echoes, I sheathe the sword of my aggression, reminiscing a wonderful yesterday, and so on.


There are also many clichés:

deserting in droves, tasted defeat, stares him in the face, weave its magic, weaving a spell.


Your lyrics constantly make use of tropes (figures of speech) that have been employed by so many generations of poets that they have become limp and exhausted. Examples: cherry blossom, dream and illusion, petals, sorrow, moon, shadow, yearning and so on.


In short, you are not creating language anew, you are using a dead language, and thus giving expression to dead feelings, however alive your own feelings may seem to you to be.


How to do something about this? Read modern poetry, beginning with some of the lyrics written as early as the 1930s by Auden, women poets such as Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath, and why not some of the personal (as opposed to political and social-critical) songs of Bob Dylan. You have to heave yourself in one go into the 21st century, and that will not be easy to accomplish.


"That is a man" was said by Napoleon on meeting Goethe, although he naturally said it in French.

(Ho Wai-On: This was David's response to my telling him as a child in Hong Kong, the very first English sentence I learned in school was “This is a man”, and I have never come across an opportunity to use this sentence.)


I wish you luck with your next ventures,


All the best,


David


16 Aug Update 8月16日更新:

Ho Wai-On's Response 何蕙安對大衞評語的反應


Ho Wai-On:  It's rather interesting that David (J D Morley) wrote generous comments on my music and yet was quite critical on the writing of the CD book. The fact is, from feedback, many find the book easy and enjoyable to read, while the music apart from Magic Banyan Tree and Bulldozers... (the last two pieces on the CD) do not make easy listening. I think this may due to David being a writer but not a professional musician, hence more critical on the writing. I think another reason was the mutual appreciation of fellow creative artists ― he liked the originality of my music. Whether or not I am any good as a composer, whether or not you like my music, and despite the music including varied styles, I do have my own musical language.


英國作家约翰·大衞·摩利(我叫他做大衞)評論了《樂在其中》CD和冊子,他對CD的音樂好評,但對CD册子的英文寫作颇有批評。很多人却喜歡閱讀那册子,覺得CD的音樂,除了最後那兩首《神奇老搈樹》和《鏟泥機、老屋老榕樹》覺得好聽,有好幾首比較不容易接受。這可能是由於大衞是一位作家而不是作曲家,所以對寫作的要求比音樂嚴格。另一個原因可能是他和我都是從事原創的,他喜歡和領悟到我音樂的原創性。無論我作曲是否出色、你是否喜歡我的音樂,與及CD包括了多種風格的樂曲,我的確有自己獨特的音樂語言。



Ho Wai-On: As for the writing of my CD book, it's rather interesting that the English David criticized was all from the much edited version (i.e., not my original writing), and also from what I forgot to acknowledge (i.e., not my writing). Though English was a compulsory subject in school when I was a child in Hong Kong, I was not educated in what Cantonese called an "English School" (i.e., all subjects taught in English, and Chinese being an optional selected subject). I was taught in Cantonese that most Hong Kong people speak. That's my mother-tongue and I identified with Hong Kong Cantonese culture. Though I have lived most of my life in England, I was often reminded by others I was "not from here", hence I do not identify with the English and never feel English is my language. I do not have the confidence to delve into creative writing but aim to write correct English to express what I want to say. I also noticed whenever I am tired, upset and unwell, my English pronunciation, speech and writing all suffer and I can't help making mistakes. I appreciate the edited version by those whose English skill and knowledge is beyond me. Yet, to David who was an excellent writer and scholar, the edited version lacked originality and failed to impress him. I wondered if perhaps he might prefer the unedited, simple but rather austere writing?


我自小在香港上學,英語是必修課,但我是在中文學校受教育的,我的母語是廣東話,我認同的是香港的廣東文化,儘管我一生大部分時間生活在英國,由於經常會被提醒我是“外來的”,所以雖然日常全用英語,我從不覺得英語是我的語言,我還注意到,每當我疲倦、心煩和身體不適,尤其是生病時,我的英文無論講和寫都會出錯,而且會錯得古怪,不知是否有點鍾儀楚奏莊舄越吟的味道?我常需要用英文長篇大論的寫,但旨在寫正確的英文來正確地表達想說的話,無甚文筆可言,從來沒有信心做英文作家。現在想想也覺得自己有點荒謬,在環境惡劣,身心都非好狀態,疲憊得很的時候,却去製作《樂在其中》,實在何樂之有?我需要攪好録音,寫整部CD冊子和作各方面的美術設計和宣傳,製作過程更是困難重重,實在擔心在這裡那裡會冩了些錯得古怪的英文,還好有位英文超好的學者幫忙編輯冊子,我覺得他是位好編輯,但有趣的是,被大衞批評的英文却是被編輯過的段落(即是非我原文),或是被另一位極有名的學者看過我原稿叫我改的字,和一兩首我疲倦到忘了在冊子中寫是誰為我寫的詩(即是不是我的),我覺得他們的英文我萬萬不及,偏偏既是出色的作家,亦是詩人和學者的大衞不喜歡,或者他會更喜歡我直率無華散文式的,和毫不柔和的原文吧?


Masculine and feminine: It's interesting that David mentioned my music was masculine yet the writing of the CD book feminine. This reminded me of when my Shadow's Farewell for soprano and string orchestra was performed at the Asian Arts Festival held in Hong Kong long ago, a critic said it didn't sound like it was written by a woman. When I used pseudonym to write in Chinese, readers often assumed I was male. It seems that for a long time due to social system, masculine and feminine is defined by personal independence and strength. Due to my difficult start in life I had to fend for myself as a child, and learnt to be streetwise and independent. I did not have a traditional female role model to follow. I learnt to survive rather than to please. My music is not pleasing, and my writing in Chinese is strong rather than pleasing. While my writing in English often reflects the style of whoever edited my writing or worked with me at the time. The combined style was softer and more refined than my original version. I thought that was an improvement, yet it's feminine to David.


有趣的是,大衛覺到我的音樂有點男子氣,而CD冊子的英文卻是女人味。這讓我想起很多年前,我那首寫給女高音和弦樂團的《影的告別》在香港亞洲藝術節演出時,有位樂評說不像是女人作的。每當我用筆名發表中文,讀者亦常以為我是男性。由於社會制度曾長時期制止女性自立,只能依附男性,大概男性代表獨立和力量吧。我幼小時經歷過苦日子,自生自滅,又缺乏傳統女性的榜樣,我學會獨立生存而不懂取悅他人。我作曲並非為討喜,大概聽眾會覺得我的音樂有點挑戰而不易接受,我寫的中文並不婉轉,但由於我對寫英文不夠信心,常會反映編輯者和與我當時一起工作的人,發表的比我原文柔和美化,我以為是改善,但大衛看到的却是少了點獨立個性,覺得女性化了。

3. COMMENTS & MY RESPONSES 各界評論和我的回應


Including:

From a composer, a film director, and a novelist

Complete comments on Music is Happiness by J D Morley

Music Web Review

Comments from: Andrew Breaks, Derek Foster, James Iliff, John Maver, Peter Renshaw, Professor R D Rubens, Malcolm Singer, Esther Wershof, Kim Wilson Jonathan & Olga Woolf and more


Here's what people have been saying about it... Clark Ainsworth, Mark Argent, Dr Uli Bommer, Albert Tang, Eve Telford



我第二次從癌症倖存後製作了《樂在其中》音樂光碟和冊子,以我童年的名字林安琪發行(音樂專業演出我多用何蕙安,我亦用其他筆名發表各類文稿),以下評論來自居住英國的藝術和文化界人士,電影導演,作曲家,指揮,音樂學院教授,博物館工作人员,圖書管理員,醫療專業人員和在醫院認識的病人,我的師友同行和學生及其家長,所以都是用英文寫的,而我怕做翻譯工作,連自己寫的都怕翻譯,更怕翻譯别人寫的了,不過我會時不時加點中文簡介。


I produced Music is Happiness after surviving cancer for the second time and it was issued under my childhood name, Ann-Kay Lin. The following are comments from people in the arts and cultural circles, from medical professionals and fellow patients, pupils and their parents, and friends and acquaintances.



FROM A COMPOSER, A FILM DIRECTOR AND A NOVELISTS:


“Ann-Kay Lin (aka Ho Wai-On) is a multi-talented artist who has the virtue of straddling two major cultures, East and West, both from a profound knowledge.  Her musical work is very direct and speaks clearly to what must be a considerable audience.  There is undoubtedly a need for such well-crafted, delightful, fresh and imaginative work today.”  

Jonathan Harvey, composer; Prof. Emeritus Stanford University; Hon Fellow, St. John's College, Cambridge University.


“I enjoyed every piece. I admire the remarkable intertwining of traditions and styles, and especially the way the Eastern elements contribute to the huge emotional impact of the music.  The narrations stimulate the imagination – the book is fascinating throughout”  

Brian Gilbert, film director of WILDE, TOM & VIV, THE GATHERERING.


“I found all these pieces very interesting and enjoyable to listen to. The selection is good because it presents a varied scope of musical intentions.  Strong, with clear lines, decisive, most dramatic, intelligent, and well, yes, possessing a kind of masculinity, perhaps surprising in view of the romantic and quite feminine lyricism of the accompanying texts. The effect in almost all cases is that of a dramatic performance.  The drama is foremost.  There is urgency in this music.  Making it has mattered to the composer. Listening to it matters to the audience.”

John David Morley, author of PICTURES FROM THE WATER TRADE.


以上是三位英國有名的作曲家,電影導演和作家,在聽了和讀了《樂在其中》後寫的評語,講的大致是這樣:作曲家約拿芬·哈菲覺得這是憑藉深厚知識和多才藝的跨文化,直接,清新和有想像力的精心製作。電影《王爾德情人》的導演白萊恩·吉伯特喜歡CD所有的音樂,喜歡傳統與個人風格的交織,尤其是東方元素對音樂的影響,覺得曲前的朗誦激發想像力,冊子令人著迷。作家约翰·大衞·摩利(小説曾被列入暢銷書)喜歡CD的音樂,覺得選曲明智,代表多元,音樂很強壯清晰和具有戲劇性,表現男性氣質,但他覺得冊子文筆有點浪漫抒情和女性化。


Click blue square on R to view Music Web Review

in PDF format.

藍方格內是"音樂網"《樂在其中》的評論

最喜歡《神奇老榕樹》,對有些風格比較新潮的作品

則覺得不容易接受?

COMMENTS FROM:  (Click blue square at bottom R to view PDF)


Andrew Breaks – Visitor Operations, British Museum


Derek Foster – composer

James Iliff – composer & professor of harmony at The Royal Academy of Music

(my composition professor)

Two from John Maver – composer & fellow patient

Peter Renshaw – Gresham Professor of Music emeritus

Professor R D Rubens – Guy's Hospital

Malcolm Singer – composer, conductor, Director of Music emeritus Yehudi Menuhin School & professor at Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Esther Wershof – pupil

Kim Wilson – pupil & Montessori Pre-School proprietor

Jonathan (librarian) & Olga Woolf (pupil)

... and more.


藍方格內是各界人士,包括同行,作曲家,指揮,

音樂學院教授,博物館工作人员,圖書管理員,

醫療專業人員和在醫院認識的病人,我的師友和

學生及其家長等等寫的,或會選譯一些。