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All that was near is now distant  | 原既遠亦近
Program Concert | 標題音樂會

Soprano: Lau Cheuk Yan, Alison | Baroque violin: Lai Yat Hei, Sean; Shen Ting Chia, Vivian | Viola da gamba: Lam Tim Wai | Harpsichord: Hung Wai Ho, Stephen | Narrator: Yu Wing Yan, Alice

Story narrated by Yu Wing Yan, Alice in Cantonese. An English translation can be found at the bottom of this page.


Narration A

Part I - Melancholic

d'Anglebert - Passacaille

Narration B
Handel - Armida Abbandonata

Narration C

Part II - Sanguine

Biber - Guardian Angel 

Narration D
Montéclair - Le dépît généreux

Part III - Conversation
C.P.E. Bach - Sanguineus and Melancholicus 

Narration E
Marais - The Human Voices


Tim Wai Lai performing the last piece of the programme - The Human Voices during Prism Chamber Music Festival 2019 in Hong Kong.

This story of this programme is a personal reminiscence inspired by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges and the events happened in Hong Kong in 2019.

The story begins with a man walking into a Cha Chaan Teng (resturant in local Hong Kong style) located in a public housing estate - Choi Hung Estate (彩虹邨), which was his childhood home. He comes back to meet an old friend whom he hasn't seen for 22 years. As the story unfolds, we learn about their childhood living and playing together in Choi Hung Estate, and that his friend is soon going to be blind.

In the concert, we hear two beautiful secular cantatas written by Handel and Monteclair, representing two different perspectives towards pain and lost love; two challenging passacaglias written by Lully/d’Anglebert and Biber on one identical ground bass line; C.P.E. Bach’s engrossing Trio sonata, Sanguineus and Melancholicus, in which a conversation between an optimist and a pessimist is depicted by two violins; and, to conclude, Marais’ exquisitely calming piece, The Human Voices. At first sight, one may not be able to see the relation between the music and the story, but one just has to sense it from a different perspective.

Through their conversation and music, this concert explores the different perspectives on life, senses and hope.

The name of the programme is inspired by a poem by Goethe:

Dusk has fallen from on high,

All that was near now is distant;

But first the evening star appears

Shining with its lovely light!

All becomes an uncertain blur,

The mists creep up the sky;

Ever blacker depths of darkness

Are mirrored in the silent lake.

Now in the eastern reaches
I sense the moon’s light and glow,

The branching hair of slender willows

Frolics on the nearby water.
Through the play of moving shadows,

The moon’s magic light quivers down,

And coolness steals through the eye

Soothingly into the heart.

Programme Note:

Dämmrung senkte sich von oben,

Schon ist alle Nähe fern;
Doch zuerst emporgehoben

Holden Lichts der Abendstern!

Alles schwankt ins Ungewisse,

Nebel schleichen in die Höh’,

Schwarzvertiefte Finsternisse

Widerspiegelnd ruht der See.

Nun am östlichen Bereiche
Ahn’ ich Mondenglanz und -glut,

Schlanker Weiden Haargezweige

Scherzen auf der nächsten Flut.

Durch bewegter Schatten Spiele

Zittert Lunas Zauberschein,
Und durch’s Auge schleicht die Kühle

Sänftigend ins Herz hinein.

Story in Chinese and English:

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