The Hong Kong Bach Choir & Orchestra Present Works by Mozart, Penderecki and Lutosławski
Jun 11, 2018

The Hong Kong Bach Choir and Orchestra close their 2017-18 season with music celebrating both love and creative independence, by Mozart, Penderecki and Lutosławski, on Sunday, 24th June at 8:00 p.m. at the Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall in Central.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed his “Great” Mass in C-minor as a gesture of thanks to God for Mozart’s marriage. It reflects not only his love for the Lord and for his young wife Constanze, but also for the music of Bach, which he was studying at the time he created the Mass and whose contrapuntal style permeates much of it. Its grandly scaled dimensions also express Mozart’s joy in the hard-won creative freedom he had recently achieved by breaking away from his employment under the musically conservative Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg to embark on a free-lance career in Vienna – a then-new phenomenon in the musical world.

But the Mass also comes along with a mystery: If it represents so many ideas crucial to Mozart’s life and work, why did he leave it unfinished?

Krzysztof Penderecki may well be the Mozart of the 20th century, both for his innovative music, which has been at the forefront of modernist and post-modernist movements since 1960, and for his insistence on creative autonomy even while living and working behind the Iron Curtain in his homeland, Poland. The Choir will perform three brief choral works by Penderecki: his Song for Cherubim, from 1987, and two excerpts from his most recent largescale work, Dies Illa. All three are in Penderecki’s controversial late neo-Romantic style, reflect his love for Eastern Orthodox chant and are deeply moving.

Also on the program is a major work by Penderecki’s slightly older Polish contemporary, Witold Lutosławski, who with Penderecki represents the post-War “Polish Renaissance.” Lutosławski wrote his Funeral Music for Strings in 1958 as a tribute to a beloved elder, the late Hungarian composer Béla Bartók, who, like Lutosławski, used the folk music of his homeland as a point of departure for an exploration of new sound-worlds. The Funeral Music for Strings has as its model Bartók’s masterpiece, the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, and is one of the first successful modernist expressions to emerge from post-War Eastern Europe.

Soloists in the Mozart are soprano Stefanie Quintin, soprano Samantha Chong, tenor Felix Suen and bass-baritone Sammy Chien. The Choir’s assistant conductor Rex Man leads two of the Penderecki choruses, with the remainder of the program conducted by music director Jerome Hoberman.

Media Contact

Astrid Stroemnes

The Hong Kong Bach Choir
GPO Box 2334, Central, Hong Kong