（一）前奏 余親毅/張靄華 文 仁德 中譯
（二）公演 陳朝蕾 文 真如弗 中譯
（三）超越自我 仁德 文/譯
（四）貝西的心聲 貝西 文 真如弗 中譯
A. The Prelude by Kin & Eva Yu Chinese Translated by Ren De
Gwhyneth Chen is a disciple who took refuge with Shr Fu. She knows Shr Fu’s teaching of being humble and frugal. In order for the temple not to have to pay for a hotel room for her, at her request the Concert Committee arranged for her to stay at our home. To our surprise, despite being a world-famous pianist Gwhyneth is very friendly and easy to get along with. She seemed right at home eating simple vegetarian meals with us.
Nine days before the concert, Gwhyneth arrived at the Calgary airport and was presented a White Hat by government representatives. During this period, the Emperor Liang Repentance was held at Avatamsaka Monastery. For the first few days, besides practicing eight hours a day and helping us resolve some problems in organizing the concert, she went to the monastery to join the repentance session. Due to Calgary’s dry climate, her fingertips cracked from practicing, yet she kept practicing until the pain was numbed. The last few days before the concert, the conductor arrived from Spain. Besides her normal piano practices, she had to rehearse with the conductor and the 65-member philharmonic orchestra, as well as being interviewed by the local newspaper and
Taiwan Liberty Times (through long distance calls).
B. Her Performance by Looi Tan Chinese Translated by Zhen Ru Fu
What is amazing, other than Gwhyneth’s exquisite technique and artistry in Rachmaninoff’s concerto, is her focused energy. She was leading the whole orchestra, she carried the performance, and Maestro Colomer matched her tempo and style perfectly. Having only rehearsed together for two days, they manage to reach important cadences and climaxes together. She seemed relaxed and was able to get her cue from the conductor. I found that the tempo started out on the fast side for the 3rd movement, but surely it added to the excitement and intensity of the finale. Her cadenza in the Rachmaninoff’s concerto was breathtaking. She carefully built up the energy from the 1st half of the performance to Rachmaninoff’s second half. I was practically at the edge of my seat the whole time.
The main difference comparing her performance to other performances that I have attended is that, she played with sincerity and her heart. Her focused concentration and determination was clear. Sometimes the performer is merely a translator for the composer. But Gwhyneth’s performance was more than that, her passion and sincerity permeated the entire concert hall. Overall, I found this performance very inspiring, not only to me, as a musician, but in the way it opened people’s hearts and soul to the world of music, and to Buddhism.
C. She Surpassed Herself Written and Translated by Ren De
Miss Gwhyneth Chen said she had all the skills required to play the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto when she was in her teens and when playing she could feel they were in her blood; however, this performance in a concert hall, accompanied by an orchestra with over sixty members, involved many factors for its successful execution.
Usually in a concert, the soloist plays only one concerto. For this benefit concert on October 1 for the expansion project of the Avatamsaka Monastery, Gwhyneth Chen vigorously performed two world famous pieces: the challenging Prokofieff Piano Concerto No. 3, taking 31 minutes, and the most difficult Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto, lasting 45 minutes. The two concertos require very challenging playing techniques. In addition, the soloist must remain clear-minded to express the music, which, according to Gwhyneth Chen, is a task beyond ordinary human ability.
Gwhyneth Chen is a pianist of great determination who practices eight hours a day. She is also a devoted Buddhist who never skips her spiritual practice. In her room, on a bookstand on her desk stands an article faxed to her by the Venerable Master Hua. It tells about a laywoman who always gave birth to girls. She resolved to recite the
Earth Store Sutra 100 times with the wish of having a boy. Many times her doctor confirmed that she was carrying a girl. She persisted faithfully in reciting the Sutra 100 times, and sure enough a boy was delivered. Gwhyneth Chen has been deeply inspired by this article, and in January of this year she too resolved to recite the Sutra 100 times. If she was interrupted, she would start all over again. After five attempts, from March to June, she finally managed to recite the Sutra 100 times consecutively. During that time, she didn’t pray for anything in particular. However, suddenly, to her joy, she found that her musical skills had advanced and her mental clarity had obviously improved!
Even though she did her usual practicing prior to the concert, the unprecedented length of the performance was really beyond the physical condition of such a thin young woman as her. She had just two rehearsals with the Maestro and the orchestra, and in the last rehearsal she wasn’t doing well and the Maestro wasn’t stable either. Therefore, at 4:30 p.m. in the residence, she knelt down to pray to the Venerable Master Hua and the Bodhisattvas to bless her with enough strength and inspiration, so that her goals could be realized. These goals are: 1) to benefit the expansion project of the Avatamsaka Monastery, 2) to make a musical offering to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and 3) to invite all living beings to attend the concert in the hope that they will renounce their anger and attain bliss. Half an hour before the performance, in the dressing room, she again knelt down to pray for blessings from the Master and Bodhisattvas.
After an outstanding first half of the performance, during the intermission she knelt in the dressing room and prayed for the third time to the Master and Bodhisattvas to giving their blessings so that she would have enough strength to finish the concert.
Gwhyneth Chen said that this has been her most successful performance of all time. In the magical atmosphere that evening, she felt the audience, orchestra, conductor and she had become one entity, which totally followed the melody and the flow of the music. Such a state is impossible to attain through a soloist practicing alone. In that experience, she felt very relaxed and therefore had the control to express all the emotions in a perfect way. According to Gwhyneth, without the blessings of the Buddha, she could not have finished the lengthy program nor would she have been able to surpass her own performing level.
D. Bessie’s Turn by Bessie Chinese Translated by Zhen Ru Fu
I joined the concert committee in January 2004, just six months after my younger brother had passed away. I was still very depressed and trying to find ways to help him out. I vowed to help organize the concert and dedicate any merit from this concert to him.
The organizing of the concert was overwhelming. There were lots of obstacles and several times the committee almost canceled the concert. I managed to hold on to my vow despite its difficulty.
On the day of the concert I still had to run around and was totally exhausted. I knew nothing about music and had never attended a concert before. I told myself I might fall asleep during the concert but at least I did participate. Then Gwhyneth came onstage, sat down gracefully and started her performance. It was terrific! I wasn’t sleepy anymore. The music just flowed through my heart. The two-hour concert turned out to be too short.
At the end of the concert Dharma Master Heng Sure led us to dedicate the merit not only to those within Buddhism but also to beings of all other religions. I dedicated mine to my dear brother and I hope he will enjoy the music as much as I did.