Danse macabre, Op. 40
Danse macabre, Op. 40, is a tone poem for orchestra, written in 1874 by the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. According to legend, Death appears at midnight every year on Halloween. Death calls forth the dead from their graves to dance for him while he plays his fiddle (here represented by piano primo). His skeletons dance for him until the rooster crows at dawn, when they must return to their graves until the next year.
The piece opens by playing a single note, D, twelve times (the twelve strokes of midnight) which is accompanied by soft chords. Then the piano primo enters playing the tritone, which was known as the diabolus in musica (“the Devil in music”) during the Medieval and Baroque eras, consisting of an A and an E flat.
The piece becomes more energetic and at its midpoint, right after a contrapuntal section based on the second theme, there is a direct quote played by Dies irae, a Gregorian chant from the Requiem that is melodically related to the work’s second theme. The Dies irae is presented unusually in a major key. After this section the piece returns to the first and second themes and climaxes with the full ensemble playing very strong dynamics. Then there is an abrupt break in the texture and the coda represents the dawn breaking (a cockerel’s crow) and the skeletons returning to their graves.
Yu Pui Hang Rachel
Second Piano Secondo
Yu Pui Hang is currently a first-year undergraduate music student at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, majoring in piano under the tutelage of Dr. Cheng Wai, Vivian. She also studied piano under Miss Ada Hau before entering the university and received piano coaching from Ms. Julie Kuok and Prof. Polina Fedotova. In addition, she is minoring in voice under the tutelage of Ms. Margaret Yim and Miss Melody Tang.
As an enthusiastic pianist, Yu attained the Associate of Trinity College London (ATCL) in 2021. During her years in Good Hope School, she has performed with the School Choir, School Mixed Choir in collaboration with St. Paul's College, and Good Hope Singers as a piano accompanist, in events such as Our Dream 2016, Legal Year Opening Ceremonies, and Christmas Carolling at Hong Kong Jockey Club Clubhouses. She has also been performing as the School Choir’s pianist overseas, including in Rome, Poland, Vienna, and Macau, as a chorister locally in Ponte Orchestra & Singers, and in the 2021 Hong Kong Hymnos Festival.
Yu has participated in various competitions, including the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival’s piano solo and duet categories, in the choir division as a pianist and chorister. She has also been awarded third place in the 10th HK Students Open Music Competition, and Champion of IYACC The 4th International Open Piano Competition.
Lee Kwok Lui Alice
First Piano Secondo
Lee Kwok Lui Alice is an undergraduate student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, majoring in piano under the tutelage of Dr. Mary Wu. Lee started learning piano when she was 4 years old and she attained ATCL when she was 13. In 2021, she gained the gold award in the HKSMSA Grade 8 piano solo with 96 marks and is nominated as a candidate of First Initiative Foundation (FIF). She also gained the gold award in JSMA percussion ensemble in 2022.
Lin Cheuk Ying Joyce
Second Piano Primo
Joyce Lin receives her undergraduate training in music at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She majors in piano under the tutelage of the internationally renowned pianist, Dr. Mary Wu.
As an innovative and determined musician who has devoted herself to prayer services for more than half a decade, Joyce founded an online worship medley team in her alma mater, Shatin Pui Ying College, during the COVID-19 pandemic. She prepared a mashup out of a selection of worship songs and created an online platform to encourage her fellow schoolmates to pray and gather even when school was suspended. The online worship medley in Christmas 2020, as their fruit of diligence, was very well received. Following the success of the online service, Joyce steered another online worship medley programme in Easter 2021. She has won acclaim for her constant contributions to the worship service and her aspirations to unite Pui Yingers with the power of music.
Joyce’s scope of work is also indicative of her enthusiasm and passion for musical arts. Over the years, Joyce assumed increasing responsibilities in different musical productions – the leading actor in So UK, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Twinkle in the Eye. Adding to stage acting, Joyce also set out to compose music and write scripts for musicals. Since 2022, she has been working closely with her alma mater as a live musician, a composer, a lyricist, a playwright, a student music director, and the leading student director, hoping to cultivate the minds of budding musicians and to gain frontline experience to strengthen her artistic pursuit.
Joyce is currently composing the 45th-anniversary theme song for Shatin Pui Ying College and is curating a celebrative album of musical songs as a singer and a production coordinator. Her recent endeavours also include writing an original musical under the support of ‘Dreaming Through Chung Chi Scheme’ (CUHK) and the ‘Hsin Chong -K.N. Godfrey Yeh Education Fund.’
Ho Yu-To Tommy
First Piano Primo
Hong Kong pianist Ho Yu-To Tommy is currently a first year undergraduate music student at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, majoring in piano performance under the tutelage of Raymond Young. He also previously studied under William Fu. Meanwhile, he is studying the violin under the tutelage of Jacky Yung. Ho started learning piano when he was 7 years old and started learning violin at an age of 11. He has received the piano ATCL certificate with distinction in 2022 and the ABRSM certificate of grade 8 violin with distinction in 2021. Ho participated in the string ensemble in his secondary school years, and has been the concert master for one year.
Ho has participated in many competitions, including the first runner-up of the Hong Kong Golden Bauhinia International Youth piano Competition in 2017, the second runner-up of the fifth Hong Kong Asia-Pacific Youth Piano Competition in 2018, the Gold prize of the Hong Kong Children and Youth Piano Content in 2019, and the First prize of Hong Kong International Music Cultural Festival 2022 Piano Competition in 2022.