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Celebrating 200 years of Haydn masterworks

HAYDN'S works will be performed on May 17 by pianist Fou Ts'ong and on May 28 by the Zurich Chamber Orchestra and Zurich Boys Choir, reports Nie Xin.

To mark the 200th anniversary of Haydn's death, Shanghai Concert Hall will host performances of the master's works - symphonies, piano sonatas and variations, concertos, reveries and cantatas.

Acclaimed pianist Fou Ts'ong will perform in recital on May 17, followed by a concert of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra and Zurich Boys Choir on May 28.

Fou, 75, will play "Piano Sonata in D Major," "Piano Sonata in B Minor," "Piano Sonata in E Major," "Variations in F Minor" and "Variations in C Major."

Fou, who resides in France now, was born in Shanghai into a cultured family. His father, Fou Lei, translated great French novelists and philosophers into Chinese.

The family owned the latest recordings of the great pianists of that time. Fou started to play piano at the age of seven, learning from Italian professor, pianist and conductor Mario Paci.

In 1953, Fou Ts'ong moved to Europe, where the Warsaw Conservatory professors were amazed at his intuitive grasp of mazurka rhythm, elusive to even the best Western pianists. He won the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1955, then studied with Zbigniew Drzewicki, who regarded Fou's talent as "natural."

Following Fou, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra and Zurich Boys Choir, under the baton of Tang Muhai, will present a Haydn masterpiece, "The Creation" ("Die Schoepfung"). It features soprano Agnete Munk Rasmussen and bassist Diogenes Randes.

Regarded by many as the "father of the symphony and string quartet," Haydn (1732-1809) created many masterpieces, with "The Creation" and "The Seasons" ("Die Jahreszeiten") considered the best.

Written between 1796 and 1798, "The Creation" is an oratorio celebrating the creation of the world.

Founded in 1945, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra rapidly developed an international reputation for performing Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. In recent years, it has performed, in concert and on CD, largely forgotten 18th-century composers, such as Ferdinand Ries, Luigi Cherubini, Ignaz Pleyel and Leopold Kozeluch.

The orchestra appointed Shanghai-born conductor Tang as artistic director and principal conductor at the start of the 2006/07 season.

Tang studied at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich. Tang conducts music of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods as well as the work of Asian composers.

He has conducted concerts worldwide. In 2002 a Grammy was awarded for his recording of guitar concertos by Christopher Rouse and Tan Dun, performed by the Gulbenkian Orchestra and the soloist Sharon Isbin.

The co-performer, the Zurich Boys Choir, has performed throughout Europe and the United States. Singers begin training at the age of seven or eight.

Fou Ts'ong piano recital

Date: May 17, 7:30pm

Zurich Chamber Orchestra and Zurich Boys Choir

Date: May 28, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Concert Hall, 523 Yan'an Rd E.

Tickets: 100-580 yuan


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