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Soon after the final chords of Bach’s St Matthew Passion had faded from the Royal Festival Hall, 120 members of The Bach Choir flew out to Shanghai to start their two-week concert tour, taking in Shanghai, Hangzhou and Hong Kong.
The Bach Choir is delighted to be including world premieres of short pieces from John Tavener and Bob Chilcott in the tour programme. Tavener’s O where, tell me where, is a meditation on three Scottish folk songs, and we were delighted to welcome Lady Tavener to our final rehearsal so that we could perform the folksongs to her. The world premiere is on Thursday 10 April in the Oriental Art Center, Shanghai, with a second performance on Saturday 12 April in the Grand Theatre, Hangzhou. The London premiere will be on Tuesday 25 November in the Royal Festival Hall.
Bob Chilcott, who last wrote for The Bach Choir in 2012 when we gave his Angry Planet at the BBC Proms, has composed two delightful Chinese folksong arrangements for us, and we hope to be able to give these as encores in China. Bob Chilcott writes “I have thoroughly enjoyed making arrangements of two Chinese folk-songs for The Bach Choir’s tour to China before Easter, and I hope that the singers gain as much from singing them as I have from arranging this beautiful music.”
The final concerts of our tour are on Friday and Saturday 18 and 19 April, in the Cultural Centre, Hong Kong, where we perform Bach’s St Matthew Passion in German with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Jaap van Zweden.