Ricardo Morales solos in the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, and Ching-Yun Hu is the pianist in the world premiere of Red Cliff in this month’s broadcast concert by the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Sunday at 5 pm on WRTI.
Red Cliff, by Taiwanese composer Yiu-Kwong Chung, is a piano concerto in one movement, consisting of four sections played without pause. It is inspired by the 15th-century historical novel The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, considered one of the four classic novels in Chinese literature. It deals with the turbulent Three Kingdoms period at the end of the Han dynasty in the 3rd century. Each section presents a vignette from the story:
Three warlords are vying for control of the empire. Cao Cao has consolidated power in the north, and leads a vast armada of ships down the Yangtze. Liu Bei and his strategist Zhuge Liang persuade Sun Quan to join forces with them against Cao Cao, and despite overwhelming odds, defeat him. The political stalemate that ensues allows the establishment of the Three Kingdoms, each claiming to be the legitimate successor of the Han dynasty.
The popularity of the story today speaks to the amazing continuum of Chinese culture extending back more than two millennia. Yiu-Kwong Chung is Taiwan’s best known and most performed composer.
Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, though fairly standard in construction, is a showcase for the beauty of the clarinet and the genius of Mozartean tunefulness. The opening Allegro is highly acrobatic, filled with runs and jumps of wide intervals that display both the range of the instrument and the virtuosity of the soloist. The Adagio features one of Mozart’s most lush and beautiful melodies. The final movement is a Rondo, with a graceful, dance-like melody that is repeated several times throughout the movement.
Dirk Brossé conducts Red Cliff, and guest conductor Kynan Johns leads the Mozart. WRTI’s Dave Conant is your host. Join us Sunday at 5 pm for the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia on WRTI!
Yiu-kwong Chung: Red Cliff: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
Ching-Yun Hu, piano
Dirk Brossé, conductor
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Clarinet Concerto
Ricardo Morales, clarinet
Kynan Johns, conductor