Pinnock to conduct Academy orchestra in night of Mozart

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 September, 2012, 10:28am

Trevor Pinnock Conducts the Academy Symphony Orchestra

HK Academy for Performing Arts

British conductor and harpsichordist Trevor Pinnock will direct the orchestra of the Academy for Performing Arts in an all-Mozart concert on Friday.

This is Pinnock's fourth visit to Hong Kong since 2004 specifically to work with the student ensemble on 18th-century repertoire. He recalls the young players' lively response, saying it generated "extremely hard work, a lot of fun and some fine concerts".

Pinnock is recognised as one of the world's most influential performers in the interpretation of early music, usually taken to include music up to the end of the baroque era. So how does Mozart, the definitive classical period composer, fit into that time-frame? Pinnock says the term "early music" is very loose and can encompass practices extant long after the death of J.S. Bach in 1750.

"If we let it refer to the music of Bach and his sons, we should remember that Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach wrote his last symphonies only in the 1770s, just a few years before the Mozart symphonies we are performing," the 65-year-old says. "Stylistically, the worlds are not as far apart as some people might imagine."

A generous 20 hours of rehearsal time has been set aside for Friday's programme that will include Mozart's Symphonies Nos35 and 36, plus the Piano Concerto in D minor, K466, featuring 18-year-old soloist Tsang Hin-yat, winner of the 2011 Manchester International Concerto Competition. A pupil of Professor Eleanor Wong, he is in his final year at the APA.

The instrument Tsang will perform on may be more powerful than the keyboard of Mozart's day, but Pinnock says a piano from that age "has a unique sound … that can reveal all the tenderness and brilliance to be found in the music", and urges all pianists to expand their range of colours by practising on a good period instrument.

"From a lifetime of work with period instruments, I have a pretty good idea of the sound world appropriate to Mozart," the conductor says.

"An appropriate playing style and good musicianship will bring the music to life whatever instruments we are using - historical or modern."

Sam Olluver

Fri, 8pm, APA Concert Hall, HK$150. Inquiries: 2584 8514