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Notes on the performers
Lance is a Hong Kong-born pianist and composer based in London. His versatile performance career has brought him around the UK and Hong Kong, and to the Netherlands, Finland, Poland, South Korea, Taiwan, Macau, and the US. He is noted for his mastery of a wide repertoire of diverse styles and advocacy for under-performed composers and works. His performances have been broadcast by Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) and Television Broadcasts Ltd and used in films and documentaries.
Lance’s music has been performed in the UK, Netherlands, Hong Kong, and the USA, recently at such renowned venues and occasions as St John’s Smith Square (London), O. Festival (Rotterdam), and French May Arts Festival (Hong Kong). His works have been broadcast by RTHK. Some main sources of inspiration have included classical English literature, Buddhist philosophy and LGBTQ+ issues. He also has a strong interest in setting Cantonese texts to music.
Lance obtained his master’s degree from the Royal College of Music in 2018. Having graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong with a First in 2016, he was granted a full-tuition scholarship for his postgraduate studies under the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme. Lance became a Fellow of the Royal Schools of Music in 2017. He has been appointed an ABRSM examiner since 2023.
From Quills to Quaintness
This recital puts together 3 works inspired by then-old-fashioned forms but were treated with a personal flare of virtuosity. These works are essentially keyboard suites, which first exponents were written for harpsichords with plectrums, or quills.
George Frideric Handel
Suite no. 7 in G minor, HWV 432
- Ouverture (Largo – Presto – Largo)
- Passacaille (Passacaglia)
Handel was already an established name in London in 1720. As pirate publication of his keyboard works began to circulate as his fame grew, he found the need the publish his own authorised version. The compilation of these works became his first published set of keyboard music and eventually came to be known as his 8 ‘Great’ Suites. The seventh, in g minor, wove together the many branches of his career: a keyboard virtuoso, a court composer, and a prolific opera writer.
The two-part French-style overture – a majestic dotted-rhythmed opening and a quick fugue – is an arrangement of that of his cantata Cor fedele, giving us a glimpse into the operatic side of Handel’s oeuvre. The Andante and the Allegro are pieces taken from an earlier set of keyboard works. While a slow sarabande and a lively gigue usually form the last two movements of the typical dance suite, here they are followed by a passacaille – or passacaglia, an old variation form even in Baroque terms – balancing the grandeur of the opening overture with a virtuosic finale.
Poulenc was a member of Les Six, a group of neoclassical composers active particularly in interwar Paris. Part of their agenda to seek inspiration in older forms is apparent in 3 pièces, written when Poulenc was not yet 20. He dedicated them to his teacher, Ricardo Viñes.
Viñes’s influence is most apparent in the Pastorale, which stark lines scattered with evocative ornaments and lush harmonies make this melancholic yet tranquil piece almost impressionistic. The Hymne, on the other hand, has more neoclassical restraint and any flare and use of ornaments point to more galant sources of inspiration. The Toccata is a kaleidoscope of colours, weaving fragments of several now-discarded pieces from the first draft of this work together into a flashy showpiece.
Sir Stephen Hough
- Canción y Danza I
- Canción y Danza II
Hough currently enjoys a celebrated career as a concert pianist, composer, and writer. He had written 4 serious piano sonatas prior to the Partita, and here, in his own words, he has created ‘something brighter, something more celebratory, something more nostalgic’.
The two Cancion y Danzas were inspired by the Catalan composer Federico Mompou, and form the more melancholic centre of the work. The others, bearing now-almost-archaic titles, toy with musical elements of their traditional namesake: the pompous dotted rhythms and fugal counterpoint in the Overture, the mercurial Capriccio, and the brilliantly virtuosic Toccata. The 3 central movements, in particular, were built largely on the interval of a fifth, while the outer movements ‘suggest the world of a grand cathedral organ’.