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Awakening for Soprano/Piano/Harp and Orchestra (2024)
04:28

Awakening for Soprano/Piano/Harp and Orchestra (2024)

Premiered on 4 Feb 2024 (立春) in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall by Lora Chow and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Lio Kuok-man, “Awakening for Soprano/Piano/Harp and Orchestra" serves as a joyous celebration of the arrival of spring, the beauty of love, the essence of growth, the significance of living in the present moment, and the pursuit of inner peace. Through its vibrant melodies, lush harmonies, and dynamic orchestrations, this piece invites listeners to immerse themselves in a musical journey that embodies the transformative power of nature and the human spirit. In the opening, the harp glissandi portray the gentle stir that awakens nature after a long winter slumber. The rising piano arpeggio mimics the subtle warmth of sunlight, while the woodwinds and brass instruments weave a tapestry of melodies reminiscent of birdsong. The soprano then sings a spirited melody (0:13), as the orchestra dances with lively rhythms, evoking a sense of renewal. Central to the piece is the celebration of love, which is expressed through tender and emotive melodies in the middle section by the solo piano (1:21). The music captures the essence of love's transformative power, reminding us of its ability to inspire, heal, and unite. Growth is another theme that permeates throughout the composition. The music builds upon itself, gradually expanding and evolving with increasing complexity. The orchestral textures become more intricate, reflecting the organic process of growth. The lyrics urges us to appreciate the beauty and richness of the here and now. Towards the end, the music conveys a profound sense of peace, providing a sanctuary of tranquility (3:30). The ethereal harp and serene harmony create a contemplative atmosphere (3:41), inviting listeners to find solace and inner peace. This piece highlights the profound interconnectedness between nature, human emotions and the human spirit. May the performance of this composition envelop listeners in a sense of awe and inspire them to embrace the beauty and abundance of life in all its manifestations. The lyrics of Awakening was co-written by Mingka Yu and Lora Chow: In the land of slumber, beneath the winter's veil, Golden rays awaken the flowers still and frail. As the sunlight shimmers through the trees, the joy of spring prevails. Tulips sway and flirt, sing an ode to love's sweet tale. Scents of fresh petals make our spirits set to sail. Through life's ebb and flow, I find solace and grow With you by my side, The warmth of your love abides. Spread the hues of spring softly to the shades out there Cherry colours bloom, let the blossoms fill the air! Let's rejoice! We awaken from winter's night, embrace the light. With every dawn, new hopes shine bright. Primavera, wonderful sight! Let nature take our hands and guide. Let the misery subside. Let the joy, let the laughter be amplified. Spread the joy of spring! Sing to all the souls out there. Heal your hearts with songs, let them lift you from despair. Let's rejoice with music everywhere. Let go of your past, there are no more tears to spare. Spring is the season of awakening.
Sympathy (2019) by Lora Chow
03:47

Sympathy (2019) by Lora Chow

“Sympathy” is a setting of Emily Brontë’s poem Sympathy. It is composed in 2019, which marks the 200th anniversary of Emily Brontë’s birth. The music is scored for an orchestra and a soloist who sings and plays the piano and the harp in the piece. The piece opens with a solemn English horn solo, which brings the news of the passing of a revered person. The piano solo then portrays the pathway to heaven and the mourning of the friends and family. In the first stanza, the singer expresses sympathy to them while the piccolo is painting the metaphors of the burning stars and the morning sunshine. A repeating descending fourth motif conveys the tears flowing down. In the first half of the second stanza, the soloist sings about grief while playing the harp. In the second half of the second stanza, the tone turns more optimistic, conveying a sense of acceptance, leading to the climax in C major. Sympathy - Poem by Emily Brönte There should be no despair for you While nightly stars are burning, While evening pours its silent dew And sunshine gilds the morning. There should be no despair – though tears May flow down like a river: Are not the best beloved of years Around your heart forever? They weep – you weep – it must be so; Winds sigh as you are sighing, And Winter sheds his grief in snow Where Autumn’s leaves are lying: Yet these revive, and from their fate Your fate cannot be parted, Then journey on, if not elate, Still, never broken-hearted! This video is recorded in March 2019 from the rehearsal with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Gerard Salonga, sung by Lora Chow.
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