Update: Taiwan Place Names

The Taiwan Railways Administration has announced that the following city names will retain their familiar romanised spellings rather than be converted to the New Phonetic System (shown in parentheses) that is now standard:

Changhua (Zhanghua)
Chiayi (Jiayi)
Hsinchu (Xinzhu)
Hualien (Hualian)
Kaohsiung (Gaoxiong)
Keelung (Jilong)
Pingtung (Pingdong)
Taichung (Taizhong)
Taipei (Taibei)
Taitung (Taidong)

The spelling of some place names, such as Tainan and Taoyuan, will remain the same because the spellings are identical in the new system.

This news item will strike readers living abroad as prosaic but the clarity is welcome to those of us living in Taiwan. Standardisation has been lacking for a long time. As you can see from the results shown in parentheses above, the New Phonetic System (called Hanyu Pinyin in China) yields at least two ugly, user-hostile spellings for every elegant one. Still, it's a standard. Individual choices are preserved in Taiwan for the spellings of personal names.

Thanks to the Bradt Travel Guide for sharing the news.


Conductor's Notebook


Three Questions for Conductors over Dumplings

Wherever conductors gather you can expect shoptalk. That was the case recently when Apo Hsu and her NTNU conducting class took visiting conductor Mark Gibson to lunch earlier last week in Taipei. Three questions came up that offered welcome grist for the blog.

  • Which work qualifies as The Great American Symphony?

  • Leonard Bernstein and Herbert von Karajan were icons of the Dionysian-Apollonian dichotomy. What conductors alive today can compare?

  • Who wins your award as The Person Least Likely to be Engaged as a Narrator for Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait?

My own responses follow. Feel free to share your own. A link to create a comment appears at he bottom of this post.

Which work qualifies as The Great American Symphony?

The question is a poser because no consensus has yet emerged on this. Great works are composed, but you can't just name The Great American Symphony the way you can The Great American Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra or The Great American Elegiac Work for Strings. Not if the symphony has to be by an American, that is.

Aaron Copland staked a claim with his Third Symphony. The general sense at the table was that, appealing though the work is, it hasn't carved a place for itself that compares, for example, to the symphonies of Shostakovich or Sibelius, two of Copland's contemporaries.

(But isn't it often that way? Works by eastern European composers, such as Gubaidulina, Pärt and Górecki often bear a formidable weight of experience. Someone has endured something and needs to tell you about it. Their American contemporaries are as likely as not to be basing works on comic books, rock drum riffs and the music of Desi Arnaz.)

The symphonies of Roy Harris and Charles Ives have their champions, as do works by Barber and Hanson. And with the likes of Corigliano, Zwilich, Rouse, Larsen, Danielpour, Higdon, Adams, Tower, Jones and Kernis making music on the American landscape, it may well be that the symphony already exists that will, in time, gain the consensus.

Until a consensus emerges on a work by an American, I submit that The Great American Symphony has been staring us in the face for years. It just wasn't written by an American.

Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)
Symphony no. 9 in E minor, opus 95 'From the New World'

Dvorak had a program in mind for the symphony that drew its inpiration from the popular poem Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The famous slow movement was inspired by the funeral of Minnehaha.

Dvorak's symphony is instantly recognised around the world. It is an icon of American culture as surely as the Statue of Liberty is. Let it be noted that, if Dvorak's symphony is not the work of an American composer, neither is Lady Liberty the work of an American sculptor. And what could be more American than to care about the content of a person's ideals over the circumstances of their ancestry and place of birth?

Dvorak's 'New World' sets the standard. It represents The Great American Symphony until a work by a native composer emerges to dislodge it, or at least share a spot with it on the pedestal.

What conductors alive today can compare to Leonard Bernstein and Herbert von Karajan as giants in their field and icons of the Dionysian-Apollonian dichotomy?

This question was likely rhetorical. When someone asks 'Who compares?' it's usually a safe bet that the speaker thinks no one does. Offering a straight reply spoils the party simply by being a straight reply. One has rejected the implied premise.

If that's true in this case, so be it. Bernstein and Karajan never stood head and shoulders above their major-league contemporaries as musicians, and they don't now. They possessed remarkable talents, yes. But the competition is too fierce to concede to them the lead. Their contemporaries? Carlos Kleiber, George Szell, Bernard Haitink, Pierre Boulez, Riccardo Muti, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Dmitri Mitropoulis, James DePriest, Klaus Tennstedt, John Eliot Gardiner, Günther Herbig and many more. Each one of these individuals represents a formidable talent in his own right.

One can be a fan of any conductor one chooses. But on the matter of musicianship we are faced, speaking realistically, with a case of 'any given Sunday.' Which repertoire? Performed at what stage of the musician's career? Which ensemble? How are we to rate the worth of an iconoclastic, idiosyncratic vision of a work? How are we to rate the value of versatility? How to rate fidelity to the score?

If Bernstein and Karajan seem to stand out for 'star quality', it is not because as musicians they outperformed, say, Carlos Kleiber. It is because they outperformed Kleiber in the realm of becoming media darlings. They stood head and shoulders above their colleagues in their ability to generate press hype.

The ability to make a celebrity of oneself is not the same thing as musical ability. A number of non-musical skills are involved. Celebrity standing primarily measures the ability to give journalists what they want: access, good copy, and just the right amount of controversy. It measures one's ability, and to a large extent one's determination, to appear on front pages. It measures the ability to structure contracts and work markets in a way that nurtures the desired media image.

Many people like to feel that some correlation between talent and celebrity exists. We don't like feeling that stars are stars mainly because business leaders have decided it is more lucrative for them to sell these individuals to us rather than other individuals of equal or greater merit.

Many fine musicians don't run the marketing race. Kleiber never sought to make himself ubiquitous in the record stores. He was exceedingly fussy about records with his name on them and let very little go out. Karajan intended to flood the bins and arranged his contracts with labels to ensure that he did. George Szell had little patience with the press and was no one's idea of a media pretty boy. Still, in the minds of many musicians he is the standout conductor of his generation among those leading American orchestras. Haitink has always gone toe-to-toe with Karajan for versatility. But he did little guest conducting for most of his career outside of Europe, with consequent results for his celebrity status overseas. When asked why he didn't do more conducting in the States, Haitink wondered aloud how jet setters get any meaningful score study done. Haitink, though nearly as prolific as Karajan in the recording studio and more prolific than Bernstein, shunned press hype. He wanted substance. If people saw him on television, it would be because he was conducting a televised concert, not giving an interview.

This is a big reason why success in marketing cannot be naively equated with success in musicianship. Too many superb musicians don't excel and marketing, and don't care to.

Karajan and Bernstein were the media darlings of their day as Toscanini and Stokowski were for the generation before theirs. A nostalgic glow attaches itself to past celebrities in times that seem lacking in such 'star quality.' But the difficulty we have identifying comparable 'stars' today is no reflection on the quality of our generation's musicians. It is partly due to the human tendency to forget the warts on exalted figures of the past so that only the glow remains. This pattern that repeats itself every generation. But a key reason for the difficulty today is that today's musicians live after the revolution. The record industry that made Karajan and Bernstein into stars no longer exists. The journalism that supported that industry no longer exists. Ours is a new landscape.

We still have plenty of conductors today who can serve as exemplars for anyone demanding exemplars. One has only to look. Apollonian ideals? Abbado. Dionysian forces? Dudamel.

'Catch the moon, one-handed catch!'

Who wins your award as The Person Least Likely to be Engaged as a Narrator for Aaron Copland's
Lincoln Portrait?

Kim Jong-Il of North Korea.

'You toil and work and earn bread, and I'll eat it.'

Though the New York Philharmonic might still give him a tryout.


Conductor's Notebook


Mark Gibson

This week musical organisations in Taipei play host to Mark Gibson, professor of conducting at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, USA. Conductors in training know him as the latest contributor to the The Modern Conductor, a standard text for conductors in training that was originally authored by Elizabeth Green. Gibson will visit the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU, 'Shida') and Fu Jen Catholic University.

11.26 Thursday

NTNU Masterclass with Opera Singers
林中光 Giuseppe Verdi: 'Son io, mio Carlo… O Carlo, ascolta' (Don Carlo)

黃怡璇 W. A. Mozart: E 'Amore un ladroncello' (Così fan tutte)

余姵儒 Giuseppe Verdi: 'Caro nome' (Rigoletto)

張瑜芳 Vincenzo Bellini: 'Oh! quante volte' (I Capuleti ed i Montecchi)

簡妙如 Gaetano Donizetti: 'O luce di quest'anima' (Linda di Chamounix)

陳緯晨 Johann Strauss II: Csárdás 'Klänge der Heimat' (Die Fledermaus)

11.27 Friday

NTNU Conducting Seminar (with Prof. Apo Hsu)
視二 Piano Four-Hands and String Quintet
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 2
NTNU Conducting Masterclass (with Prof. Apo Hsu)
演奏廳 NTNU Symphony Orchestra
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 2

11.28 Saturday

NTNU graduate level lecture series, 3F 音聽–
'Prima la parola: The importance of text for the opera conductor'

Fu Jen Conducting Conference Presentation
'Clarity of Intent, not Clarity of Beat'

12.01 Tuesday

Fu Jen Symphony Orchestra (with Prof. Liao Chia-Hong)
  • Tchaikovsky: Overture 1812
  • Mendelssohn: Overture Fingal’s Cave


Conductor's Notebook


1.15 Solar Eclipse

Those making holiday plans in the Eastern Hemiphere may want to catch the annular solar eclipse that will be visible on 2010 January 15. The path of the moon's shadow will move through central Africa, the Indian Ocean, and a swath of Asia that includes India and China.

An annular solar eclipse, though dramatic, differs from a total solar eclipse. The moon is farther from earth during an annular eclipse. Its shadow does not completely obscure the sun and a ring of light remains. The sun's corona is not easily viewed as it would be during a total eclipse.

A partial solar eclipse will be visible over a much wider area, including Taiwan.

For more information visit the Nasa web page for this event.


Conductor's Notebook


Second Steps

What work I have done I have done because it has been play.
- Mark Twain

Today marks the fortieth anniversary of the launch of Apollo 12. Fittingly, the anniversary is passing unheralded in the shadow of news that water ice has been discovered on the moon, just as this second landing in the Apollo program has always existed in the shadow of the first. Network commentators remarked on the air at the time that Apollo 12 had an odd feeling of 'routine' about it compared to the event that had transfixed the world only four months earlier. Yet the flight merits our notice, not only for the bravery and discovery it represents in its own right, but for the accomplishment represented in that very feeling of being ordinary. With Apollo 12 the epic became the expected, the miraculous natural.

Apollo 12's crew was as exuberant and fun-loving as Apollo 11's crew had been taciturn. The solemnity of the previous mission gave the wisecracking crew of 12 the perfect foil. When commander Pete Conrad, not one of the tallest astronauts, stepped onto the moon his first words were 'Whoopee! That may have been a small one for Neil but it was a long one for me!'

Alan Bean's steering of the lunar module Intrepid marked Project Apollo's first precision landing. The landing of Apollo 11's Eagle had sent mission specialists scrambling to learn exactly where the astronauts were. Apollo 12's demanding flight plan called for a precise descent that would bring the Intrepid down within walking distance of Surveyor 3, an unmanned soft lander Nasa had sent to the moon a few years earlier. The precision landing was achieved. Conrad and Bean walked to the Surveyor craft as planned and collected samples.

Apollo 12, with two moonwalks, tripled the time Armstrong and Aldrin had spent on the surface. Enhancements in the lunar lander and space suits enabled a longer stay.

Mission planners included a few surprises in the multi-page task list taped to the arm of Conrad's suit. As he turned pages he found Snoopy cartoons and drawings of naked women with suggestions for areas to explore. Conrad, whose every word was going out on international broadcast, laughed as he turned pages and made oblique quips to mission controllers.

The video cameras of Apollo 12 offered the first colour images from the lunar surface. Soon after stepping onto the surface, though, Alan Bean pointed the camera at the sun. The result: no more live video. The public experienced most of the Apollo 12 moonwalks through audio broadcast. The lunar surface images we see today, such as the raising of the flag, are usually still images that went unseen until the astronauts returned to earth with the film cannisters.

The next mission, Apollo 13, reminded the public that sending human beings to the moon was still far from a routine endeavour. This near-disaster raised concerns among goverment officials that played a role in the decision to reduce the number of moon landings. Planned flights for Apollo 18, 19 and 20 were cancelled.

Pete Conrad retired from Nasa. He later died, in his 60s, when he tried to take a corner too fast on his motorcycle.

Alan Bean went on to serve as commander of a Skylab mission that set new records for longevity and productivity in space. After leaving Nasa he became an artist.

The third crew member, Dick Gordon, piloted the command module Yankee Clipper. This role, the same as that filled in Apollo 11 by Michael Collins, kept Gordon in lunar orbit during the time his crewmates explored the surface. Gordon was uncomplaining, but Conrad and Bean regretted that this necessity prevented their friend from joining them on the moon. In a painting Bean was later able to create the portrait they really wanted: all three men standing together on the moon, with the Intrepid in the background. Gordon exults in center stage; Bean, on the right, holds up two fingers behind Gordon's helmet.

On the return trip the Apollo 12 astronauts were the first human beings ever to witness a total eclipse of the sun by the earth. The 'diamond ring' effect was spectacular.

The period of totality was too dark to photograph well. Bean later painted the scene. A thin rainbow-coloured ring circled the darkened earth as sunlight filtered through the atmosphere. As their eyes adjusted to the darkness the astronauts could see a band of dim light at the equator. They recognized this band of light as lightning. A spot of white light glowed at the centre of the darkened planet, though, that had them mystified. They mentioned the white spot to a scientist when they returned. 'The full moon was behind you,' he said. 'You saw its reflection on the ocean.'


Conductor's Notebook


Haunting Haiku

A werewolf is like
a weretiger or werebear,
except it's a wolf.

Shaking chandeliers,
rattling windows, slamming doors:
ghosts lead a dull life.

Slinky succubus
sucking my body of brio:
what a way to go.

Alton Thompson
© 2009

Image: Psychology Today, 2008.09.08



Hockey Haiku

The visitors score
five goals in seven minutes:
the home fans throw beer.

aside, hockey and haiku
make an awkward match.

Zamboni on fire
melts ice in the arena:
now I see the floor.

Alton Thompson
© 2009

Photo: Kevin C Cox / Getty Images, 2008 / ESPN


Conductor's Notebook


Lee Shu-Te Birthday 80

The Department of Music at the National Taiwan Normal University celebrates the eightieth birthday of violin professor Lee Shu-Te this Friday with a special concert. The first half features the NTNU Symphony Orchestra led my music director Apo Ching-Hsin Hsu. The second half features chamber music performed by NTNU faculty artists.

Lee Shu-Te Eightieth Birthday Concert
2009 October 21 Friday 18:00
Admission free to the public.

這項活動計劃於 2009年10月23日 18:00
在師大大禮堂. 進行.

Many professional string players from Taiwan have had Professor Lee as a mentor. Today her students may be found in concert halls throughout the world, bringing music to new generations.

More information appears on this concert's Facebook events page.


Conductor's Notebook


On the Trail of Missing Music

We often wonder why things are as they are. It is rarer, yet often more helpful, to consider what we're missing and ask 'Why not?' Tim Smith, music writer for the Baltimore Sun, is doing the latter. In the process he is doing music lovers a service.

Smith, in his Sun blog Clef Notes, has embarked on a series of articles about music we've been missing. Each post focuses on a body of work that has been unjustly neglected in the concert hall. Each features a casual introduction to the music and provides links to media and more information.

The art music scene in the Baltimore-Washington region of the USA provides the locale for Smith's discussion. Since the 1980s this region has emerged as one of the most intrepid in the country for new and rare music. Even so, says Smith, the occasional odd gap occurs. Many compelling works await a hearing. Why not hear them?

Smith launched the series with a discussion of the music of Gerald Finzi on 2009 July 14. This week's feature, coinciding with the 135th anniversary today of the birth of Charles Ives, represents the twelfth in the survey. Links to his posts are provided here. I plan to update this list as the series continues.

Music we've been missing

14. Florent Schmitt

13. Alexander Borodin

12. Charles Ives

11. Franz Schmidt

10. Jean Sibelius

09. Alexander Scriabin

08. Olivier Messiaen

07. Edward Elgar

06. Heiner Goebbels

05. Second Viennese School

04. Howard Hanson

03. The Latin Connection

02. French Fare

01. Gerald Finzi


Conductor's Notebook

Charles Ives

Today marks the 135th birthday of composer Charles Ives (1874-1954).

Ives did not shy from clangs and bangs but he was a romantic at heart. That's what makes his music so American. As Walt Whitman was for poetry, Ives was for music.

Biographer Jan Swafford describes the composer's philosophy:

For Ives, music is not mere sound but the underlying spirit, human and divine, which the sounds express even in the inexpert playing and singing of amateurs. Thus the paradox of Ives's music, echoing his paradoxical person: he could be realistic, comic, transcendent, simple, complex, American, and European, all at the same time. If some of his music seems crowded nearly to bursting, it is a vibrant and entirely realistic portrayal of his conception of life, his sense of democracy in action, and of his own all-embracing consciousness. As Ives once said, 'Music is life.'

The Music Encyclopedia puts the matter succinctly: 'The only consistent characteristic of this music is liberation from rule.'

Everyone has been to a parade and heard a marching band pass, playing a quickstep march in E-flat, while another band a block away is striking up a circus march in F and 'Turkey in the Straw' jingles from an ice cream truck around the corner, all as crowds cheer and children shout and fireworks pop. We've all been there.

Ives's idea of giving us that scene in music wasn't to sand corners and varnish everything to a gloss. He sought to render it more as life hands it to us in the wild. He invites us to notice how very much is going on all around us, to take it all in as best we may and come to a deeper appreciation.

He heard America singing. He helped it find its voice.

Charles Ives Society

Jan Swafford: 'Charles Ives: A Life with Music' (Ives Society)

Charles Ives (Answers.com)

Ives biography (Schirmer)

Ives recordings (Schirmer)


Conductor's Notebook


The Great Firewall: Thicker Than Ever

Lost Lowai reports that, the wishful thinking of Olympic officials notwithstanding, The Great Firewall of China has been made thicker and longer than ever in the months since the Beijing games. Steven, a regular Lowai contributor, reports that these social networking sites are among the many sites now blocked in China:

Bit.ly (URL shortening service)
Blog.com blogs
Blogger blogs
Google Documents (in and out)
Google: image search results (frequent re-set connections)
Google: Picasa albums (log-in appears but images blocked)
Opera blogs
Post.ly (URL shortening service)
Twitter and related tools
- Dabr.co.uk
- iTweet.net
- Twitzap
- Dabr.co.uk
- TwitterGadget (iGoogle)
Typepad blogs
Wordpress free blogs
Yahoo Meme

In-and-out censorship of photo sites like Flickr continues, of course, as does the blocking of BBC news stories, rights sites (Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International, Human Rights in China, Free Tibet), and sites with the .tw national extension.

A writer in China recently remarked that the country no longer has the Internet; it has LAN. 'An apt description,' says Steven, 'of how insular and freaky it’s getting.'


Conductor's Notebook


Career Anxiety

Open societies say anyone can achieve any goal. This credo implies a corresponding negative: anyone at the bottom of society deserves to be there.

Alain de Botton notes the profound shift that has occurred when cultures that once spoke of 'unfortunates' now speak of 'losers.' In a talk recorded on video, he proposes a kinder, gentler philosophy of success that makes room for the complex universe all of us actually navigate.

Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favour to the skilful; but time and chance happen to them all.

(Ecclesiastes 9.11 NRSV)

De Botton is the author of How Proust Can Change Your Life, Status Anxiety, The Consolations of Philosophy, The Art of Travel and The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work. Last year he helped launch the School of Life in London.


Conductor's Notebook

Prince of Tears

Prince of Tears, a film set in 1950s Taiwan, draws on the experiences of two natives of Taiwan who have since made their careers in Hong Kong. Joyce Hor-Chung Lau saw the film in Venice last month and offers a detailed review this week in the New York Times.

Prince of Tears the film 'by Hong Kong-based director Yonfan (who goes by one name)... is the first major movie in 20 years to explore the “White Terror” that followed Taiwan’s separation from China in 1949. In Taiwan, the ruling Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party, staged anti-Communist witch hunts that killed thousands. The gorgeously crafted film, set in the 1950s, refers only obliquely to larger politics. Instead, it focuses on daily life in a remote Taiwanese village where anyone—a schoolteacher, a housewife, a soldier—could commit a political faux pas and be sent to the execution squad.

The project originated with the real-life story of the actress Chiao Chiao, a longtime friend and collaborator of Yonfan, whom she met in Hong Kong when she was a starlet there from the ’60s to the ’80s. The actress, who uses only her surname, grew up in Taiwan, but hid her childhood memories of the White Terror for years until she found a confidant in Yonfan, who also grew up in Taiwan in the 1950s. Several years ago, they decided to make a film based on her memories.

The story is drawn from tragic real-life events which, characteristically of this period in Taiwan, were kept secret for many years.

“I never spoke of my past until I found someone I trusted,” Chiao Chiao said of Yonfan. “I was so young when it happened and children back then were not allowed to ask questions.”

The film opens with a scene of a perfect-looking family in Taiwan: a handsome air force pilot, his pretty, doting wife and their two girls.

But, after Kafkaesque political complications, the parents are dragged off and the father is killed in a field. As the executioners fire their shots, his daughters hide in the tall grass in a desperate attempt to get one last glimpse of him.

. . . .

The younger sister — the character representing Chiao Chiao — is sent to live with an eerie and physically scarred government agent nicknamed Uncle Ding, whom she suspects is the informer who turned in her father. In a strange turn of events, her mother is released from a prison camp and—under pressure to resume a normal family life and support her girls—gives into advances by Uncle Ding, whom she marries.

The full review may be read at the New York Times site.

This year has seen the release of two films about the White Terror period, Yonfan's drama Prince of Tears and Adam Kane's thriller Formosa Betrayed. Both coincide with the 20th anniversary of Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s City of Sadness, the highly acclaimed film that first picked up the subject of Taiwan’s White Terror only two years after martial law was lifted.


Conductor's Notebook


Two Great Symphonies

Taipei Chamber Players
Chia-Hsuan Lin, conductor

2009 October 11 Sunday 19:30

NTNU Concert Hall
National Taiwan Normal University
162, Section 1 Heping East Road
Taipei, Taiwan

Conductor Chia-Hsuan Lin and the Taipei Chamber Players, an ensemble of elite musicians from the National Taiwan University, will present a program this weekend of two iconic works:

Mozart: Symphony 40 in G minor, K 550
Beethoven: Symphony 5 in C minor, opus 67

Admission is free to the public.


Conductor's Notebook


Mass Ordinary

Here are the original texts of the Ordinary of the Mass (Roman Rite) with English translation. These are posted here for the convenience of fellow musicians. If you find the English translation useful, feel free to use it for any musical or educational purpose. I'd appreciate an alert to any typos you find (alton.tw @ gmail.com).

The original language of the Kyrie is Greek. The remaining texts are Latin with a few expressions derived from Hebrew or Aramaic.

1 Kyrie
2 Gloria
3 Credo
4 Sanctus
5 Benedictus
6 Agnus Dei 

1 Kyrie

Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

2 Gloria

Gloria in excelsis Deo
et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.
Glory to God in the highest

and on earth peace to people of good will.

Laudamus te, benedicimus te,
Adoramus te, glorificamus te,
Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam,
Domine Deus, Rex coelestis,
Deus Pater omnipotens.

We praise you, we bless you,
We adore you, we glorify you,
We give thanks to you for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly King,
God, the Father almighty.

Domine Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe,
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patri.

Lord, the only son, Jesus Christ.
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father.

Qui tollis peccata mundi, misère nobis;
Qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostrum.
Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis.

You who remove the sins of this world, have mercy on us.
You who remove the sins of this world, accept our prayer.
You who sit at the Father’s right hand, have mercy on us.

Quoniam tu solus Sanctus, to solus Dominus,

tu solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe,
cum Sancto Spiritu, in Gloria Dei Patri.

For you alone are holy, you alone are Lord,
you alone are most high, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.

3 Credo

Credo in umum Deum
Patrem omnipotentem,
factorem coeli e terrae,
Visibilium omnium et invisibilium.

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
all things visible and invisible.

et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum,
Filium Dei unigenitum,
et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula.

And [I believe] in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only Son of the God,
born from the Father before all time.

Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine,
Deum verum de Deo vero,
genitum, non factum,
consubstantialem Patri
per quem omnia facta sunt.
Qui propter nos homines et prpter nostrum
Salem descendit de coelis.

God of God, light of light,
true God of true God,
born, not made,
of one substance with the Father
who made all things, 
who for us human creatures and our salvation,
descended from heaven.

Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto
ex Maria Virgine et homo factus est.
Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato,
passus, et sepultus est.

And was incarnated by the Holy Spirit
with the virgin Mary and made human;
was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate,
was tortured and buried.

Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas.
Et ascendit in caelum, sedet ad dexteram Patris.
Et interum venturus est cum gloria,
judicare vivos et mortuos,
cujus regni non erit finis.

Who rose on the third day as the Scriptures foretold,
and ascended into heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand,
from where he will return in glory
to judge the living and the dead:
his reign will have no end.

Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem,
qui ex Patre Filioque procedit.
Qui cum Patre, et Filio simul adoratur
et conglorificatur, qui locutus est per Prophetas.

And [I believe] in the Holy Spirit, Lord and life-giver,
who proceeds from the Father and Son, 
who with the Father and Son is adored
and glorified, who spoke through the prophets.

Et unam, sanctam, catholicam, et apostolicam ecclesiam.
Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum.
Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum.
Et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.

And [I believe] in one holy universal apostolic church.
I confess one baptism for the remission of sins
and anticipate the resurrection of the dead
and life beyond time. Amen.

4 Sanctus

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.

Holy holy, holy
Lord God Almighty.
Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
Hosanna in the highest. 

5 Benedictus

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis.

Blessed is one who comes in the Lord’s name.
Hosanna in the highest.

6 Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
dona nobis pacem.

Lamb of God, who removes the sins of this world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who removes the sins of this world,
grant us peace.


Talk Like A Pirate

September 19th is comin' upon us like a nor'easter, mates. Ye'd best be gettin' yer selves ready for International Talk Like A Pirate Day.


Official Holiday Site

Interview with Founders and Crew

Google and Facebook can deck ye out with a proper language settin'. And if ye know some scurvy rats who'll be makin' it a religious holiday, pay a call on the Church o' the Flyin' Spaghetti Monster.

This here's a 'oliday dear to me 'eart as a Florida native. We've played host to many scoundrels and louts over the years. And we've got the Gasparilla every year in Tampa, doncha know. The next one'll be a-comin' round on January 23.

A swig for ye then. Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho!


Conductor's Notebook


After Dark

Taipei, Taiwan 台灣 台北

©Alton Thompson 唐博敦
Alton's Images


Conductor's Notebook


Goodbye to Summer

As schools open and concert series begin, here's a look back at a season that, for all the turbulence it contained, was not completely lacking in charm.

©Alton Thompson 唐博敦


Conductor's Notebook


Healing Journey

By all accounts the Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan has been a healing experience for those who were hardest hit by the recent typhoon. The Tibetan leader led prayer services and encouraged those in grief to seek peace. He encouraged care of the planet by all the world's peoples and the continuing nurture of democracy in Taiwan.

Highlights of the Tibetan leader's visit are described in these stories.

Wall Street Journal: Dalai Lama holds services for victims, 2009.08.31
Taiwan News: Dalai Lama urges Taiwan to preserve its democracy, 2009.09.01
Video: The Dalai Lama's speech in Taiwan
(in English, Chinese translation), 2009.09.01

Taipei Times: Dalai Lama moves thousands at ceremony, 2009.09.02
Taiwan Headlines: Dalai Lama contributes US$50,000 in aid, 2009.09.02


Conductor's Notebook


Formosa in Film

The film Formosa Betrayed has its international premier in Montréal this week, with additional screenings pending at major film festivals. The film is based on an American official's memoir about events in Taiwan at the onset of the White Terror period in 1947.

Montréal World Film Festival
Montréal, QC, Canada

Quartier Latin Cinema Complex, Venue 13
September 3 Thursday 19:20
September 4 Friday 12:20
September 5 Saturday 14:40


Ticket purchase: http://www.admission.com/html/home.htmI?l=EN
Enter "L13.03.5 .*FFM" in the search box for Thursday
Enter "L13.04.2 .*FFM" in the search box for Friday
Enter "L13.05.3 .*FFM" in the search box for Saturday

On September 14 Formosa Betrayed will screen on Capitol Hill. The American Congress is back in session; Americans who want to encourage their representatives to view the film may write, fax, e-mail or call senators and legislators. This site provides contact information and a sample letter.

Tickets are already on sale for the screening at the San Diego Film Festival on September 26. Actor James Van Der Beek is in the running for the festival's Best Actor award.

San Diego Film Festival
San Diego, Californisa USA

Gaslamp Theater
September 26 Saturday 20:00
For tickets visit www.sdff.org/boxoffice.html

Screenings of Formosa Betrayed are also scheduled for these festivals:

DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival
Washington DC USA
October 3 Saturday 20:00

Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
October 10 Saturday, time TBA

Sao Paulo International Film Festival
São Paulo, Brazil
October 23-November 5
Day and time TBA

Saint Louis International Film Festival
Saint Louis, Missouri USA
November 12-22
Day and time TBA

The film's official web site contains more information, including trailers, photo gallery and cast bios.

Formosa Betrayed


Conductor's Notebook


Taiwan, America, China: Agreeing only to Disagree

A letter to the editor appears in the Wall Street Journal today that offers an unusually cogent description of America's position on Taiwan. The letter by John J Tkacik illustrates the price that America and Taiwan both pay for America's general reluctance to state its view plainly.

America's official position is that Taiwan's status remains undecided. The agreement America reached with China in 1972 was not that Taiwan was part of China, but acknowledgement only that the Chinese government thought so. In effect, it was agreement to disagree.

Mr Tkacik writes:

As a US foreign service officer I worked on China and Taiwan affairs for 20 years, and I can attest that the US has never subscribed to China's territorial claims on Taiwan. Nor did President Richard Nixon ever publicly articulate such a policy.

.... Nixon's public policy was 'dual representation' in support of UN seats for both Taipei and Beijing. To this day, official US policy eschews recognition of China's claims to Taiwan. As recently as June 2007, the State Department's response (drafted by the Office of the Legal Advisor) to citizens concerned about Taiwan was that the U.S. has 'not formally recognized Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan and [has] not made any determination as to Taiwan's political status.'

In 2007, the US became alarmed that the UN Secretariat had issued documents asserting that the UN considered 'Taiwan for all purposes to be an integral part of the PRC.' US diplomats informed the secretariat that 'while that assertion was consistent with the Chinese position, it is not universally held by UN member states, including the United States.'

The US Mission then 'urged the UN Secretariat to review its policy on the status of Taiwan and to avoid taking sides in a sensitive matter on which UN members have agreed to disagree for over 35 years.' They warned that 'if the UN Secretariat insists on describing Taiwan as a part of the PRC, or on using nomenclature for Taiwan that implies such status, the United States will be obliged to disassociate itself on a national basis from such position.' The UN Secretariat has indeed ceased to assert that Taiwan is an integral part of China.

The full text of Mr Tkacik's letter appears at the Wall Street Journal site.


Conductor's Notebook


Dalai Lama invited to Taiwan

The Associated Press reports that the Dalai Lama has accepted in principle an invitation to come to Taiwan to comfort typhoon survivors.

On Wednesday, leaders of seven municipalities recently hit by Morakot issued a joint statement inviting the Dalai Lama to visit storm victims from August 31 to September 4. (source: Salon)

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou quickly signalled his willingness to allow the visit. The move represents a climbdown by Ma and his party, who in deference to China's rulers had opposed such visits until now.

This will be the third visit of the Dalai Lama to Taiwan in the past twelve years.


Conductor's Notebook


Typhoon Relief

Many people are asking how they may provide volunteer help and donations for the devastated areas of southern Taiwan. This post is for you. The information here is updated regularly as more details reach me.

Resources appear under two headings: Immediate Assistance (contribution of goods and volunteer time) and Financial Assistance.

Immediate Assistance

The Kaohsiung City Government has created a regional emergency response hub to accept and distribute aid to typhoon victims across southern Taiwan. Relief workers are calling for the following items:

cooking oil (食用油)
bottles water (水)
rice (米)
instant noodles (泡麵 / 方便麵)
milk powder (奶粉)
waterproof canvas (防水帆布)
mosquito nets (蚊帳)
clothes (新或二手衣物)
blankets (毯子)
buckets (水桶)
cookware (廚具)
flash lights (手電筒)
radios (收音機)
cleaning supplies (清潔用品)
- brooms to detergents (掃帚到洗滌劑都可以)
batteries (電池)
gloves (手套)
garbage bags (垃圾袋)
sanitation masks (健全衛生口罩)

Deliver or ship items to:

Kaohsiung City Hall
Attention: Typhoon Relief
No. 2 Sihwei 3rd Road
Lingya District
Kaohsiung City 80203, TAIWAN
80203 高雄市苓雅區四維三路2號


International - 886.7337.3375
Taiwan - 07337.3357

The Kaohsiung relief centre takes donations each day until at least 21:00 (9:00 pm).

Additional collection points have been set up in the locations listed below. All locations plan to accept donations through the remainder of August or longer.


Deliver or ship:
World Vision c/o The Brass Monkey
166 Fuxing North Road
銅猴子 台北市復興北路166號
Telephone: 02.2547.5050
E-mail: max@brassmonkeytaipei.com

Deliver or ship:
Shih Lin Catholic Church
No. 264 Zhongzheng Road
Shilin District
Telephone: 02.2832.4270

Deliver or ship:
No. 74-1 Jinsi Street
Datong District
(Near MRT Shuanglian Station)
Telephone: 02.2557.0658


Púzĭ (Putzi) City Administration
No. 34, Guangfu Road
Putzi City, Jiayi County
嘉義縣朴子市光復路34號 朴子市公所
Telephone: 05.379.5102 /34


Deliver to:
Zhongzheng Hall
No. 36 Minzhi (Minjhih) Road
Xinying (Sinying) City, Tainan County

Ship to:
Social Affairs Department
No. 36, Fuxi (Fusi) Road
Xinying (Sinying) City
(新營市府西路36號) 社會處收
Telephone: 09.8053.7516 / 06.511.5692

Deliver or ship to:
World Vision Tainan
8F, No. 243,
Section 1 Minquan (Mincyuan) Road
(台南市民權路一段243號8樓 黃雅詩)
Telephone: 06.2215.8004


Deliver daily until 17:30 to:
Dapeng Bay Tourist Information Center
No. 69, Dalian Road
Pingtung City near Millennium Park
(Qiānxī Gōngyuán 千禧公園旁) 屏東市大連路69號)
Telephone: 08.736.5600 / 08.736.5012

Deliver or ship to:
World Vision Pingtung City
Attention: Mr Huang
No. 124, Xingfeng (Hsingfeng) Road
Pingtung City
(屏東市興豐路124號 黃伯翰)
Telephone: 08.737.0483


Deliver or ship to:
No. 60, Jieshou Road
Chaojhou Township, Pingtung County
Telephone: 08.7806.7165

The Morakot Internet Disaster Centre (莫 拉克災情網路中心) is hosted by the Association of Digital Culture Taiwan (台灣數位文化協會). The site, in Chinese, has information for those wishing to donate goods or cash. The Association publishes news updates at Plurk through the user name @taiwanfloods.

A detailed Breakdown of Needs, in Chinese, is maintained by concerned Taiwanese citizens. The table provides precise contact information and the specific nature of aid being requested in each area.

The Democratic Progressive Party hosts a that provides contact information for support centres in Chinese and donation information in both Chinese and English.

World Vision Taiwan, a Christian charity organisation, seeks 'relief resources, rescue cars and volunteers.' Details are available at the web site.

The Dharma Drum Mountain Zen Buddhist monastery seeks volunteers to help clean flooded homes.
Telephone: 02.2895.8300

Dharma Drum Mountain's call for volunteers.

Financial Assistance

Tzu Chi Foundation , Taiwan's largest charity, is collecting donations for Relief for Victims of Typhoon Morakot. The organisation is building up to 1,000 'green' homes for families who have lost their homes. Donations may be made at the site through Google or PayPal.

The Democratic Progressive Party has set up a special fund set up for disaster victims. The English-language blog features a widget for the DPP Typhoon Morakot Disaster Relief Fund at the upper right.

United Way Taiwan allows online contributions allocated specifically to typhoon victims.

World Vision Taiwan has a special donation page for Typhoon Morakot help. Phone and e-mail contacts are provided.

The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan requests checks payable to The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. Specify 'Attention: typhoon relief.' Contributions may also be made by direct deposit and wire transfer.

Taiwanese American Association-USA Donation Drive requests donations to TAA-USA, Attention: Typhoon Morakot Donation Drive. Send contributions to:
Mrs Ling Ling Huang, Treasurer
199 Bluejay Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43235
Telephone: 1.614.888.6501
Taiwan Center in LA requests donations through an online donation form. Financial contributions to the Taiwan Center are tax-deductible. (Tax ID: 95-4679702)

Thanks to Ho-Chie Tsai, Cecilia Ciou, Vivian Tsai, David Reid, Dragonbones, and Melody Hsiao. Also to their colleagues at Taiwan Ho!, Facebook, and the Taiwanese-American Association.


Conductor's Notebook

Typhoon Morakot

Morakot, a vast, slow-moving tropical storm packing heavy rains, blew through Taiwan on August 8 Saturday. The record-breaking volume of water it dropped on the island, 2.5 meters (100 inches), was the highest in five decades. Southern areas of the island encountered more rainfall in one day than they normally absorb in one year. The result has been colossal flooding in central and southern areas from Taiwan. The storm has left a trail of devastation in both coastal and mountain areas. This morning rivers continue to erode their banks, bridges and roads remain out, and homes lie buried in mudslides or vanished in floods. Rescue workers struggle to locate the missing as the vast toll taken by the storm on human life and property is assessed.

At the end of the weekend the Taipei Times had this report (italics mine):

The highest accumulated rainfall from Morakot as of [Sunday] was in Alishan, which had received 2,654mm of rain. The weather bureau estimated that mountainous areas in Chiayi County would receive an accumulated 2,900mm of rain, while mountains in Kaohsiung and Pingtung counties would see 2,700mm of rain and Nantou and Tainan counties 2,200mm. Rainfall on Friday and Saturday alone in Kaohsiung City and County and Pingtung County was around the annual average in those areas. Average annual rainfall in Hengchun (恆春), Pingtung County, for example, is 2,017mm.


In Tainan City and County, running water was disconnected to 280,000 homes because the county’s Nanhua Reservoir (南化) had been contaminated as a result of the rains.

Also in Tainan County, the banks of the Tsengwen River (曾文溪) collapsed in several areas, flooding townships including Shanhua (善化), Jente (仁德), Yongkang (永康), Tanei (大內), Guantien (官田), Houbi (後壁) and Beimen (北門). Flooding in some of the townships was three stories deep.

Morakot’s rains have also wreaked havoc on public transportation and infrastructure, with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications reporting 123 damaged sections of road as of 6pm yesterday. Twenty bridges, including the Dajin (大津) and Liukuei (六龜) bridges on Provincial Highway 27, Shuangyuan Bridge (雙園大橋) on Highway 17, Sinciwei (新旗尾) and Mingtzu bridges (民族) on Highway 21, No. 1 Bridge on Highway 24 and Ciwei Bridge (旗尾橋) on Highway 28, were either damaged or washed away.... Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) express trains along the west coast could not go south of Chiayi yesterday because of the floods in Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung counties. The TRA also suspended services on the South Link (南迴鐵路) because of flooding in Taitung’s Taimali Township and Pingtung’s Linbian Township (林邊). TRA trains on the east coast had to stop at Chishang (池上) in Taitung County after the Luyeh River (鹿野溪) broke its banks, preventing them from continuing on to Taitung City.


Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said at a city government meeting that 81 officials, 24 lifeboats and three ambulances were headed to Tungkang (東港), Kanding (崁頂) and Chiatung (佳冬) townships in Pingtung County, and Cishan Township (旗山) in Kaohsiung County as of 10am yesterday, adding that five lifeboats would also be dispatched to Tainan. The city’s Social Affairs Bureau had also arranged for food, drinking water and thousands of towels and sleeping bags to be sent to flood victims, Chen said.

The Kaohsiung City Government [has] created an emergency response center to accept donations of necessities such as water, food, medicine and flashlights for flood victims across the south. Those who wish to donate items can contact the center at (886) 7 337 3375 or deliver items to Kaohsiung City Hall at No. 2 Sihwei 3rd Road, Lingya District, Kaohsiung City.

The Taiwan press reports that a mudslide has buried a village in Kaohsiung County, possibly trapping hundreds of residents. (The name of the community is Romanised variously as Shao Lin, Xiaolin and Hsiaolin.) Road conditions and severe weather make it difficult for rescue workers to reach the area. Tuesday's Taipei Times:

Hundreds of residents of Xiaolin Village (小林), Kaohsiung County, were still missing yesterday after landslides caused by Typhoon Morakot devastated the area. Rescuers said yesterday morning that at least 180 residents out of around 600 had survived the mudslides. Another 76 had been moved to safety as of yesterday afternoon.

One of the survivors, Lin Chien-chung (林建忠), told cable news channels that the village had been wiped out, including Xiaolin Elementary School, Chunghwa Telecom communications equipment and the health center. Lin said he feared most of the 600 residents had been buried alive.

The emergency center said that Liukuei Township’s (六龜) Tsaonan (草南) and Chunghsing (中興) villages were also feared destroyed by mudslides or floods. Reports had yet to be verified, the center said.

The Taiwan News described the situation as viewed by satellite cameras (images appeared a day later in the Taipei Times):

One of the most stunning images obtained by the Center for Space and Remote Sensing Research (CSRSR) under National Central University was the explosive expansion of the Taimali River in Taitung. The images showed that the upper stream of the river, which originally was barely more than 10 meters wide, spread to more than 800 meters as large amounts of mud were washed down the mountain by heavy rainfall.

Chang Chung-pai, an associate professor at the center, said the mudslides observed in this typhoon have been the largest on record both in terms of length and scale.

The eye of Typhoon Morakot left Taiwan on Saturday evening and made landfall in China on Sunday. On the same day residents of Japan faced deadly flash floods from Typhoon Etau, a storm brewed in the northwest Pacific.

Links to detailed news reports appear below. I will keep this list updated as events progress.
BBC: Deadly Storms sweep eastern Asia, 2009.08.10
Taipei Times: Downpour continues to pummel south, 2009.08.10
Taipei Times
: Twenty-three dead in wake of Morakot, 2009.08.11

Taipei Times
: Hundreds missing after Xiaolin mudslides, 2009.08.11

Taiwan News
: Rescue efforts intensify across southern Taiwan, 2009.08.11

Taiwan News
: Typhoon relief helicopter crashes in Taiwan's mountains, 2009.08.11

Taipei Times: Aid workers race against time; 700 found in Xiaolin, 2009.08.12
BBC: Washed away by the typhoon, 2009.08.12
Taipei Times: Survivors tell of narrow escapes and landslides, 2009.08.12
Taipei Times: Satellite images show power of natural forces, 2009.08.13
Wall Street Journal: Outcry grows in Taiwan as death toll rises, 2009.08.13
Taipei Times: Ire over government rejection of foreign help, 2009.08.13
BBC: In Pictures, Taiwan's misery, 2009.08.14
BBC: 'Devil' typhoon leaves Taiwan reeling, 2009.08.14
BBC: Hopes fade for Taiwan survivors, 2009.08.14
Wall Street Journal: With a roar, a mountain buries a village, 2009.08.15
Taipei Times: Foreign aid pours in after government eases restrictions, 2009.08.16
Taipei Times: Friends, families hold rituals for Morakot victims, 2009.08.16
Taipei Times: Experts call on government to ban risky towns, 2009.08.16
Taiwan News: U.S. sends heavy-duty choppers to Taiwan for relief work, 2009.08.17
Taiwan Headlines: Tzu Chi Foundation to build 'green' houses for typhoon victims, 2009.08.20-21
New York Times: Taiwan's president faces anger over storm response, 2009.08.23
Wall Street Journal: Dalai Lama holds services for victims, 2009.08.31
Taiwan News: Dalai Lama urges Taiwan to preserve its democracy, 2009.09.01
Video: The Dalai Lama's speech in Taiwan (in English, Chinese translation), 2009.09.01
Taipei Times: Dalai Lama moves thousands at ceremony, 2009.09.02
Taiwan Headlines: Dalai Lama contributes US$50,000 in aid, 2009.09.02
Taiwan Headlines: National mourning ceremony for typhoon victims set for Monday, 2009.09.04
New York Times: Prime minister of Taiwan quits over typhoon response, 2009.09.08

A compelling photo story by Alan Taylor has been assembled for the Boston Globe from a variety of sources. The images give a sense of the conditions now being faced by residents of Taiwan and the coastal areas of south China.

This excerpt from Taiwanese television shows a hot spring resort area in Taitung County located at a bend in the Jhihben River. The swollen river eroded its banks, washing away buildings and felling the the six-story Jinshuai Hotel.


Conductor's Notebook