Songs and sonnets of travelers: Chopin, Viardot, Liszt – 21 February 2022

Songs and sonnets of travel_ALT_revised_F_MID

Announcing the first concert in our “Give me my song” series, “Songs and sonnets of travelers: Chopin, Viardot, Liszt” on Monday 21st February 2022, this time with 3 pianists launching this series that goes in search for what is personal to a composer’s heart – his or her “song” – or at least his or her cosmopolitan mind and soul, while also celebrating the friendship and collaboration between these 3 virtuosi-composers.

We are excited to have with us 3 pianists that include Warren Lee, Hong Kong’s very own piano prodigy, who will be performing a major piece about a young literary hero’s search to the questions “what do I wish?” and “what am I?, from Book 1 of Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage (Years of Pilgrimage), Vallée d’Obermann, as well as Chopin’s mesmerising Barcarolle, Op.60 in F sharp major, the composer’s imaginative journey into moonlight on Venetian waters, Yoonie Han a Korean-American pianist “well worth getting to know” and known for her “flowing tone …[and] heavenly singing melodies”, who can be expected to spin some poetic magic playing the Liszt transcriptions of Chopin songs as well as the aforementioned Etudes Op.10, while our very own Sylvia Chan will sing some French and German songs as well as probe the depths of Chopin’s Ballade #4, one of the most exalted, intense and sublimely powerful of all Chopin’s compositions.

With guest appearances from cellist Richard Bamping and man-of-letters-cum-storyteller Daniel Chua, we hope to re-create the atmosphere of a 21st-century music salon at City Hall theatre in Central, with the programme also including probably the Asian first performance of Viardot’s songs including Die Sterne (“the stars”) and Fleur desséchée (the withered flower), a rare performance of the songs of Liszt including Ohquand je dors (“Ah while I sleep”), as well as Saint-Saëns’s Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix (from Samson et Dalila, an opera dedicated to Viardot) and Fauré’s Après un rêve, a song that was inspired by Viardot and the influence of Italian poetry.

Programme:

Part I: “The nightsong, the stars and me” (songs)

  • Liszt, Der du von dem Himmel bist (”You who come from heaven”) (1842)
  • Viardot, Die Sterne (“The stars”) (1864)

Part II: “Journeying: dreams, beauty” (piano, songs)

  • Liszt, Vallée d’Obermann (1842) from Book 1 “Suisse” of Années de pèlerinage
  • Liszt, Oh ! quand je dors (”Ah, while I sleep”) (1842 / 1849) 

Part III: “Inspiration from new lands” (songs, piano)

  • Viardot, Fleur desséchée (”The withered flower”) (1866)
  • Saint- Saëns, Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix (”Softly awakes my heart”) – from Samson et Dalila (1876)
  • Chopin, Barcarolle, Op.60 in F sharp major (1845)

Part IV: “Longing, remembrance, reflections” (songs, piano)

  • Chopin/Liszt, Six Polish songs, no. 1 & 2 (1860)
  • Liszt, Ave Maria ”bells of Rome”, S.182 (1862) 

Part V: “Friendships” (piano, songs, chamber, reading)

  • Chopin, Largo – 3rd movt from Cello Sonata (1846)
           [a short introduction: readings of letters between Viardot and Liszt and between Viardot and Chopin / Sand]
  • Fauré, Après un rêve (”Deep in a dream”) (1878)
  • Chopin, Etudes, Op.10, no. 3 & 11 (1833)

Part VI: “Give me my song” (piano)

  • Chopin, Ballade no 4, Op.52 in F minor (1842)

The detailed programme flyer can be found here (higher resolution version here); ticket sales start on 21 January 2022 on Urbtix.

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