Our concerts

“Songful harmonies: the song-inspired piano music of Schubert, Liszt, Bartók

6th November 2018, Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge, England

We are happy to announce the second concert in the “Hear the song in the music” series – this time The Classical Singers is not singing but The Classical Group is hosting pianist Balazs Szokolay’s first appearance with and our founder Sylvia Chan’s “return” performance at Trinity College Chapel.

We continue with presenting music inspired by songs and we are inspired by the amazing variety of piano pieces that pay homages to choral works, folk songs, art songs (Lieder and others, Italian and German) that we love, and even a “forgotten” song, with a few “homage to homage” too.

The concert will start with the very Lisztian theme of “heaven and hell” and moves onto earthly folk songs (with musical “paintings” by Schubert, Liszt and Bartók , 3 Central European composers) and Liszt’s transcription and variation (more variation than transcription!) on his own “forgotten” French song, before travelling on a pilgrimage to Italy with the well-travelled and cosmopolitan Liszt (with 2 sonetti from Book 2 of his Années de pèlerinage), inspired by Petrarch’s sonnets, and ending with Schubert’s “Wanderer” seeing the light and finding affirmation in cascades of brilliant C major chords. This final piece, the Fantasie in C (“Wanderer”), of which the composer himself had said, “the devil may play it, for I cannot”, has the piano quoting directly after Schubert’s own Lied, “Der Wanderer” (D.489 / 493) (and in the “Wanderer” key of C sharp minor too).

“Hear the song in the music: Mozart, Schubert, Liszt

22nd April 2018, Shouson Theatre, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong

The Classical Singers is collaborating with a number of highly accomplished soloist musicians including acclaimed pianist Mary Wu and renowned baritone Caleb Woo on a journey of songs and piano music inspired by the songs, with a programme of music by Mozart, Schubert and Liszt, revealing fascinating connections.

The programme starts with two favourite Schubert songs, Auf dem Wasser zu Singen (sometimes known as “boating song”) and Gute Nacht (“good night”), interspersed by Liszt’s transcription of Auf dem Wasser zu Singen.  We then continue with a pairing of Mozart’s Ave Verum with a Liszt piano piece inspired by it, entitled “At the Sistine Chapel”, a piece that was dear to Liszt’s heart.  This will be followed by a pairing of Liszt ‘s choral work with his own piano transcription, one of Liszt’s settings of the Ave Maria, and the final pairing is Schubert’s Der Wanderer (D.489)a rather dramatic Schubert song, paired with Schubert’s own piano piece, Fantasie in C major (sometimes known as the “Wanderer” fantasy), a brilliantly virtuosic piece that Schubert said “the devil may play it” and quotes the Wanderer song (in C sharp minor) in its second movement. 

“Heaven + earth, beauty + love: once more

2nd September 2017, Hong Kong, Asia Society

Our 8-voice ensemble does an expanded “heaven + earth” on Saint-Saëns (Ave Verum and Calme des nuits) and Ēriks Ešenvalds (O Salutaris Hostia and Only in Sleep), two composers separated by more than a century who both contributed significantly to sacred as well as secular vocal repertoire.  

We will have the wonderful twin-sister piano duo of Lok-ping and Lok-ting Chau get us a little into the beautiful dancing mood of Brahms’ Liebesliederwalzer (Op.52a), a musical pieces that have 2 original versions, piano-4-hands-only and piano-4-hands-plus-vocal-ensemble.  

We will then continue with a number of songs that envelop us with “beauty + love” – including Stroope’s I am not yours, Elder’s Ballade to the moon, and Lauridsen’s Dirait-on.   

“Heaven + earth, beauty + love”

31st August 2016, Hong Kong, St John’s Cathedral

Our 8-voice ensemble sings Mozart’s Ave Verum, Saint-Saëns’ Ave Verum, Brahms’ Geistliches Lied, Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine and premieres Eriks Esenvalds’ Only in Sleep. 

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