Qin recordings played by Cha Fu-hsi (查阜西 ) Zha Fuxi


Cha Fu-hsi was a pilot and a deputy director of the Chinese National Airlines 中央航空公司. He came to the United States in 1945. There he met and was befriended by Charlies Seeger, then a director at OAS (the Organization of American States) in Washington D.C.

Seeger took Cha Fuhsi to the Library of congress where he was recorded on 12 inch acetate 78rpm discs. I learned about the qin from reading Robert Van Gulik's Lore of the Chinese Lute in the early 1950's. I cannot now recall how I learned about the existence of these recordings, but I wrote to the Library of Congress asking for permission to copy these recordings. I was told that this would not be possible without the written permission of the performer. It was now about 10 years after the recordings were made. I was a graduate assistant in the ethnomusicology archives at UCLA. (The archives were not established until years later, but the students and faculty always refered to them as the archives,long before that.) After checking with the US Department of State and learning that it would be permissible to exchange information and research material with the People's Republic of China, I wrote to the National Music Research Insitute in Beijing and received an answer from Yang Yinliu (杨荫浏 ) then director of the insitute, telling me that Cha Fu-hsi was a member of the institute and giving me permission to copy the discs.

At this time recorded qin was was extremely rare and live performances in outside of China were even more rare. Some years later I came to be Charlie Seeger teaching assistant at UCLA, around 1961, and he told me the story of how he had met Cha and brought him to the Library of Congress. John Thompson tells the story of Cha's refusal to accept Chiang Kai-shek's offer to fly his planes to Taiwan in 1949 and how he remained in China and continued to play the qin even during the difficult years of the Cultural Revolution.

Note: the recording length of the 12 inch 78rpm acetates causes interruptions in the performance. I have tightened these a bit but left the breaks there.

I was contacted by Guopeng(国鹏)of Bejing who copied to me a old letter in which Zha say that he had also recorded one more piece. 憶故人, "remembering an old friend". After contacting Maureen Russell, the UCLA ethnomusicology Archivist, I have learned that this seventh performance is there in the UCLA archives. If I can obtain a copy I will post it here.

1. 鸥鹭忘机 Oulu wang ji
2. 普庵咒 Pu an chou
3. 梅花三弄 Meihwa sanong
4. 瀟湘水雲 Xiao Xiang Shui yun
5. 漁歌 Yu Ge
6. 梅花三弄 Meihwa sanong with hsaio(flute)

Robert Garfias


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