This article was first published in Mandarin by the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra here.
Mandarin article by Amanda Gan
Photos by Jin Jing, Zhang Yueqin and Gao Lu from the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra
What differentiates orchestral and chamber music? A common answer is that chamber music is orchestral music in condensed form. Yet while chamber music is indeed more compact in nature, it comes with nuances of its own. This was clear in the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra’s (HZPO) recent chamber music concerts, which took place from 13-14 April at the Hangzhou Grand Theatre Concert Hall as part of its tenth concert season.
The first concert on 13 April kicked off with Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade No. 13 for Strings in G Major, K525), performed by the HZPO’s various Principals and Associate Principals under the baton of Assistant Conductor Hong Yin. Soon after, YST Strings faculty members Assoc Prof Zuo Jun (Violin, leftmost below) and Assoc Prof Zhang Manchin (Viola, centre below) joined in the music-making, alongside the HZPO’s Ding Duo, Li Yue and Li Mingzhu.
Together, the group performed Mozart’s String Quintet No. 4 in G Minor, K516 – one of Mozart’s few works in minor key, written to express his longing for family members who had passed on. Composed for string quartet with an additional viola, the ensemble brought an enhanced lower register and darker timbral colours. Zuo Jun, who was performing for his first time with the HZPO, shared of the experience, “It was great seeing former classmates as well as former students of the YST Conservatory, and a privilege witnessing the musical excellence of the HZPO musicians.”
In the second half, Zuo Jun and Manchin performed as soloists in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in Eb Major, K364, accompanied by the HZPO. One of Mozart’s most important works, the Sinfonia Concertante places string instruments on full creative display – and the performers did not disappoint, delivering the music with powerful, imaginative and united expressivity.
Besides the strings-focused concert on 13 April, the second concert on 14 April also saw strong participation from YST, featuring Head of Woodwinds Assoc Prof Zhang Jin Min on bassoon (left below), and Artist Faculty Ma Yue on clarinet (right below) – both of whom have been familiar friends of the HZPO. Zhang Jin Min shared, “Since the HZPO’s founding ten years ago, YST has been an active collaborator. I was involved in planning its first-ever chamber music concert, and co-directed this year’s concert with Maestro Hong Yin as well. Last year, HZPO musicians also performed at YST, providing excellent role models for our students and demonstrating the orchestra’s growth over these ten years into a leader in the national landscape.”
Zhang Jin Min and Ma Yue performed in Beethoven’s classic Septet in Eb Major, Op. 20 alongside HZPO musicians Hu Xi, Liu Xinxin, Feng He, Zhang Chi and Ota Hiroshi. The ensemble was applauded for their expansive, emotive and technically-impeccable playing.
In the second half, HZPO musicians performed Jean Francaix’s Dixtuor for Wind Quintet and String Quintet and George Enescu’s Decet for Winds in D Major, Op. 14, delighting audiences with intricate melodies and refined chamber playing.
Following these concerts, the Hangzhou Philharmonic Orchestra presents its Madly Mahler series, featuring conductor Robert Spano, Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and baritone Shen Yang who will explore the composer’s song cycles.