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Release Date: April 10, 2020
Catalog #: NV6278
Format: Digital & Physical

Quotation of Queries


Chan Hing-Yan composer
John Browne composer
Johannes Brahms composer
Francis Poulenc composer
Chan Kai-Young composer
Ronaldo Miranda composer

Cantoría Hong Kong | John Winzenburg conductor

Fresh from Navona Records comes QUOTATION OF QUERIES, featuring the students of Hong Kong Baptist University under the direction of Professor John Winzenburg. This collection of choral music explores notions of culture throughout the course of human civilization. It features traditional compositions, recent works, and even three debut recordings by prominent composers from Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

The album opens with “Prelude,” the first movement of Quotation of Queries by composer Chan Hing-Yan. We hear the knocking of a piano, and the sudden, vigorous vocalizations of the Cantoría Hong Kong. The music, which is set to classical Mandarin poetry, pairs Chinese folk traditions with dissonant modern sonorities. The translations of these “queries” include “What do you think human life is like here or there?” and “When can I just ignore the encumbrance?” Next comes John Browne’s setting of Aeschylus’s The Suppliant Woman, which borrows from both classical Greek drama as well as modern theater, with the chorus assuming the role of the story’s protagonist. Later on, we hear excerpts from Brahms’s 11 Zigeunerlieder (Gypsy-Songs), Op. 103, which offers a 19th century take on the challenge of blending of cultures through music. These are just a sampling of the album’s stylistic range.

Those who listen to QUOTATION OF QUERIES will find themselves immersed in a deep pool of cultural and musical traditions, as curated by Professor John Winzenburg. These recorded expressions of powerful emotion told through a myriad of musical scales and languages, perhaps counterintuitively, confront the listener with our common humanity across time and space. Listeners should be warned, however, that they too may be left with more questions than answers.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Quotation of Queries: I. Prelude Chan Hing-Yan Chan Yan Yi Crystal, piano 1:53
02 Quotation of Queries: II. The Hermit Chan Hing-Yan Chan Yan Yi Crystal, piano 1:52
03 Quotation of Queries: III. Huanyi's Three Farewell Tunes Chan Hing-Yan Chan Yan Yi Crystal, piano 2:03
04 Quotation of Queries: IV. Who Says That Dongpo Is Old Chan Hing-Yan Chan Yan Yi Crystal, piano 2:53
05 Quotation of Queries: V. Ignore the Encumbrance Chan Hing-Yan Chan Yan Yi Crystal, piano 5:08
06 The Suppliant Women (Excerpts): Parados John Browne John Winzenburg, Egyptian Herald; Ben Burton, percussion; Callum Armstrong, aulos 3:46
07 The Suppliant Women (Excerpts): Ode 2 John Browne John Winzenburg, Egyptian Herald; Ben Burton, percussion; Callum Armstrong, aulos 5:50
08 The Suppliant Women (Excerpts): Ode 3 John Browne John Winzenburg, Egyptian Herald; Ben Burton, percussion; Callum Armstrong, aulos 5:05
09 The Suppliant Women (Excerpts): 3rd Amoibaion John Browne John Winzenburg, Egyptian Herald; Ben Burton, percussion; Callum Armstrong, aulos 5:00
10 The Suppliant Women (Excerpts): Exodus John Browne John Winzenburg, Egyptian Herald; Ben Burton, percussion; Callum Armstrong, aulos 3:41
11 Zigeunerlieder, Op. 103 (Excerpts): No. 1, He, Zigeuner, greife in die Saiten ein Johannes Brahms Lai Pui Sang, piano; Chu Cho Hang, tenor solo; Lau Cheuk Ying, soprano solo; Chan Wing Yan, soprano solo 1:28
12 Zigeunerlieder, Op. 103 (Excerpts): No. 7, Kommt dir manchmal in den Sinn Johannes Brahms Lai Pui Sang, piano; Chu Cho Hang, tenor solo; Lau Cheuk Ying, soprano solo; Chan Wing Yan, soprano solo 1:32
13 Zigeunerlieder, Op. 103 (Excerpts): No. 8, Horch, der Wind klagt in den Zweigen Johannes Brahms Lai Pui Sang, piano; Chu Cho Hang, tenor solo; Lau Cheuk Ying, soprano solo; Chan Wing Yan, soprano solo 1:28
14 Zigeunerlieder, Op. 103 (Excerpts): No. 5, Brauner Bursche führt zum Tanze Johannes Brahms Lai Pui Sang, piano; Chu Cho Hang, tenor solo; Lau Cheuk Ying, soprano solo; Chan Wing Yan, soprano solo 1:15
15 8 Chansons françaises, FP 130 (Excerpts): No. 1, Margoton va t'a l'iau Francis Poulenc Chan Wing Yan, soprano solo; Cheng Man Wai, bass solo 2:37
16 8 Chansons françaises, FP 130 (Excerpts): No. 2, La belle se siet au pied de la tour Francis Poulenc Chan Wing Yan, soprano solo; Cheng Man Wai, bass solo 1:29
17 8 Chansons françaises, FP 130 (Excerpts): No. 3, Pilons l'orge Francis Poulenc Chan Wing Yan, soprano solo; Cheng Man Wai, bass solo 0:48
18 8 Chansons françaises, FP 130 (Excerpts): No. 4, Clic, clac, dancez sabots Francis Poulenc Chan Wing Yan, soprano solo; Cheng Man Wai, bass solo 2:14
19 8 Chansons françaises, FP 130 (Excerpts): No. 8, Les tisserands Francis Poulenc Chan Wing Yan, soprano solo; Cheng Man Wai, bass solo 1:44
20 2 Cantonese Works: I. Under the Mid-Autumn Moon Chan Kai-Young Tsang Chiu In, piano 3:36
21 2 Cantonese Works: II. The Crane Releasing Pavilion Chan Kai-Young Tsang Chiu In, piano 3:07
22 Suite Nordestina: I. Morena bonita Ronaldo Miranda Cheng Man Wai, bass solo 0:51
23 Suite Nordestina: II. Dendê trapiá Ronaldo Miranda Cheng Man Wai, bass solo 1:07
24 Suite Nordestina: III. Bumba chora Ronaldo Miranda Cheng Man Wai, bass solo 2:19
25 Suite Nordestina: IV. Eu vou, eu vou Ronaldo Miranda Cheng Man Wai, bass solo 0:53

Quotation of Queries
Text by Su Dongpo (Su Shi, 1037–1101)

The Suppliant Women (Excerpts)
Text by Aeschylus (525-456 BC), adapted by David Greig

Zigeunerlieder, Op. 103 (Excerpts)
Text adapted from Hungarian by Hugo Conrat (1845-1906)

2 Cantonese Works
Text by Su Dongpo (Su Shi, 1037–1101)

All tracks recorded June 11-16, 2018 at Studio 28 in Bangkok, Thailand

Recording Session Producer Sathapat Sangsuwan

Recording Session Engineer, Mixing, Mastering Jake Craig


Chan Ka Wing
Chan Sze Ka
Chan Wing Yan
Chan Yan Yi Crystal
Chau Hoi Lee
Cheung Ka Hei Sabrina
Got On Yin
Lai Cho Lam Claudia
Lam Yuet Kay
Lau Cheuk Ying
Leung Hin Yan
Leung Wai In
Lo Wai Man
Tsang Cheuk Lam Chalene
Tsang Chiu In
Wong Cho Ying
Wong Yi Ching Ariel
Wu Wing Shan Sandy
Yip Hei Tung
Yip Ka Hing
Yuen Ka Wai

Cheng Man Wai
Cheung Pak Sang
Choy Long Hin
Chu Cho Hang
Fung Ka Yiu Banny
Kam Ka Yiu
Lai Pui Sang
Lam Ho Yan Dominic*
Lam Lok
Lee Ka Lun
Man Pak Yue
Tang Tsz Ngo Geoffrey
Tsang Lok Ki
Tse Kai Tik Declan
Yan Zijie

*Assistant Conductor

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Morgan Santos

VP, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

John Winzenburg


John Winzenburg is a professor of music at Hong Kong Baptist University, where he conducts the Cantoría Hong Kong. He and the Cantoría have actively promoted Chinese choral music in dialogue with international repertoire since they first earned a Gold Medal at the Czech 2010 Festival of Songs Olomouc and they presented a Weekend Concert at the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing in 2012. Winzenburg performed as Choral Director of the premiere of Hong Kong Odyssey at the 2017 Hong Kong Arts Festival and served as Chorus Master of The Suppliant Women in collaboration with the Actors Touring Company (UK) and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh at the 2018 Hong Kong Arts Festival.

Cantoria Hong Kong

Cantoría Hong Kong


CANTORÍA HONG KONG is a mixed choir of select students from the HKBU Department of Music. The group was established in September 2009 and traveled to the Czech Republic in June of the following year to participate in the 2010 Festival of Songs Olomouc, where it was awarded a Gold Medal in the category for chamber choirs.

It has performed concerts in Tianjin, Beijing, Shenzhen, Taipei, and Kaohsiung, including a feature concert at the main Concert Hall of the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing in 2012. It has hosted five Chamber Choir Showcase events with guest choirs and artists at Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall since April 2011. It recently collaborated with the acclaimed Philippine Madrigal Singers and The 24 from the University of York, as well renowned conductor Chen Yun Hung, conductor/composers Ko Matsushita and Ben Parry, and countertenor Robin Tyson (King’s Singers).

The ensemble was featured on Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) Radio 4 “University Voices” in 2013 and on RTHK TV Arts On Air: World Youth & Children’s Choir Festival 2015.  It was awarded the WYCCF-Jebsen Choral Arts Youth Scholarship in recognition of its contribution to Hong Kong choral music in 2015.  The Cantoría was also featured on the 2015 Edition Peters CD and website Half Moon Rising: Choral Music from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. In June 2016, the choir successfully completed its United Kingdom Tour, where it performed at King’s College Chapel of Cambridge University, the Chapel of Royal Holloway University of London, the Gresham Centre, and on the BBC Radio 3 programme In Tune. It then performed a joint concert with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain during the NYCGB tour in Hong Kong in August 2016, which was aired on RTHK Radio 4 in Fall 2016.  In February 2017, the Cantoría performed as the featured choir for the newly composed Hong Kong Odyssey, which was premiered at Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall as part of the 2017 Hong Kong Arts Festival. The group then performed a leading role for the production of The Suppliant Women by Aeschylus in March 2018 at the 2018 Hong Kong Arts Festival in collaboration with the Actors Touring Company (UK) and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh. The Cantoría collaborated with the national New Zealand Secondary Students Choir in a joint concert in July 2018, which was later aired on RTHK Radio 4. Also in the summer of 2018, the ensemble recorded its first CD Quotation of Queries: Choral Encounters of Hong Kong, China, and the Distant West at Studio 28 in Bangkok.

Ben Burton and Callum Armstrong

Ben Burton


Ben Burton trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London and, since 2016, he has toured regularly as percussionist with the Actors Touring Company’s revival of The Suppliant Women. Burton has also performed and recorded with renowned ensembles at major venues in the United Kingdom, and he has worked with many acclaimed conductors, including Sir Mark Elder, Marin Alsop, and Edward Gardner.

Callum Armstrong


Callum Armstrong trained at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London and in 2016 became involved in the Actors Touring Company production of The Suppliant Women, in which he played the ancient double-reed, double-pipe aulos. Armstrong has won numerous piping and recorder prizes, and he has performed as soloist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and in Steven Spielberg’s film Warhorse.

John Browne


John Browne trained at University College Cork with Gerald Barry and at the Manhattan School of Music in New York on a Fulbright Award. His opera credits include Babette’s Feast, Demon Juice (Royal Opera House); Early Earth Operas, Midnight’s Children (English National Opera); and A Nightingale Sang (Southbank Centre).

His choral music includes Small Selves, Out of Suffering (Westminster Abbey), and arrangements for the band Elbow. His film work includes The Itch of the Golden Nit (Aardman) and theatre credits include The Events (Actors Touring Company) and Die Töchter Des Danaus (Konzert Theater Bern). Browne has been composer-in-residence at Kings College London, served as adjudicator for BBC Young Musician of the Year, and is a Cultural Fellow of Glasgow Caledonian University.

Chan Hing-Yan


Chan Hing-Yan is currently James Chen and Yuen-Han Chan Professor in Music at the University of Hong Kong. Lauded for their subtle mediation between Chinese elements and Western idioms, Chan’s compositions have been heard around the world at prestigious festivals. Recent works include three chamber operas (2018, 2015, 2013).

The first two were commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts Festival, who also entrusted Chan as the composer and Music Director of an extravaganza staged cantata to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover in 2017. Chan served as Artist Associate 2016-18 of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. Over the years, the orchestra has commissioned and presented his works at home and abroad in Europe (2005), South America (2010), Canada and New York (2012), Taiwan (2016), Beijing (2010), and Shanghai (2007). Chan received the “Best Artist Award (Music)” at the Hong Kong Arts Development Awards in 2013. His three collaborations with the City Contemporary Dance Company (2009, 2007, 2005) won him much acclaim as well as a Hong Kong Dance Award in 2008, when he also received commendation for “Persons with Outstanding Contributions to the Development of Arts and Culture” in the Secretary for Home Affairs’ Commendation Scheme.

Chan Kai-Young


Chan Kai-Young often assimilates various Asian cultural traditions into his music, and he is particularly drawn to the musicality of Chinese literature expressed through the tonal Cantonese language. His music is performed in various continents by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Albany Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, PRISM Quartet, Daedalus Quartet, and Mivos Quartet, among other prominent performers.

His selected works are released on Ablaze Records, PARMA Recordings, and Innova Recordings, and scores of his works are published by Edition Peters (London), Central Conservatory of Music Press (Beijing), and Hong Kong Children’s Choir. Chan is part of the first artist delegation of the American Composers Forum to the Havana Festival for Contemporary Music in Cuba, a historic tour documented by the National Public Radio. His music is also presented on such international stages as ISCM World Music Days, International Rostrum of Composers, June in Buffalo, Valencia International Performance Academy and Festival, Internationalen Ferienkurse Darmstadt, among others. After completing his Ph.D. in Music Composition with the Benjamin Franklin Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied with Jay Reise, James Primosch, and Anna Weesner, he joined the composition faculty at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he is currently an assistant professor of music.

Ronaldo Miranda


Ronaldo Miranda was born in 1948 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in Piano and Composition from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and the Universidade de São Paulo. In 1974, Miranda started his professional career as a music critic for the Jornal do Brasil, a well-known newspaper from Rio.

It wasn’t until 1977 that he decided to dedicate himself more intensely to composing. He has since produced a significant group of works for various instruments and voices, in many different genres and forms—including solo and choral works, cantatas, and the opera Dom Casmurro, premiered in 1992 at the Teatro Municipal de São Paulo. Among his well-known choral works are Belo, Belo (1978), Noite (1980), Aleluia (1985), and Liberdade (1986). His works have been published in Brazil and internationally and have been performed in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Italy, England, Switzerland, Argentina, the United States, and elsewhere. In 1999, he composed Sinfonia 2000, commissioned by the Ministério da Cultura do Brasil to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Brazil’s discovery. He has since composed numerous large-scale works on commissions from major ensembles. Miranda has also been active as a music critic, professor, and musical administrator, including his position on the Composition faculty at the Music Department in the School of Communication and Arts of the São Paulo University.


QUOTATION OF QUERIES: CHORAL ENCOUNTERS OF HONG KONG, CHINA, AND THE DISTANT WEST explores selective cultures, eras, and texts of human civilization through the international choral medium that grew out of Western art music. This album, however, adopts the perspective of a Hong Kong music ensemble looking outward in space and time: through choral encounters with traditions near, far, and into the distant past. Following the spirit of the album’s title track, which explores the nature of life via the ancient writings of one of China’s most celebrated poets, the Cantoría poses its own set of choral queries in six languages from the cultural crossroads of Hong Kong:

- How do texts of the ancient world find meaning through choral music in our contemporary life of the 21st century?

- How do traditions of classical poetry, Greek theater, Hungarian-inspired German Romanticism, French chansons, and Brazilian folk forms merge onto a contemporary choral platform?

- How are tonal Chinese languages of Mandarin and Cantonese enunciated chorally alongside non-tonal Western languages of English, German, French, and Brazilian-Portuguese?

- How do advancing media technologies transform Asian university ensemble practices when cross-cultural choral works are premiered in Hong Kong, recorded in Bangkok, and released on a U.S.-global digital platform?

- How does the view from Hong Kong both include us in and distinguish us from traditions of different continents?

The album also captures the spirit of Hong Kong multiculturalism, which has a distinctive face of diversity from that celebrated among the world’s Anglophone countries. Hong Kong might be regarded as a “double multicultural” territory: As a Special Administrative Region of China, it is officially trilingual (Cantonese, Mandarin, and English), bringing together local, national, and post-colonial identities as an outgrowth of its Chinese-Western history; as an international, ethnically diverse urban center, it also has a growing interest in learning about “world music” and cultures.

The selection of traditions being represented chorally in this project, while not carrying an obvious immediate interconnection, nonetheless has its own underlying logic: Hong Kong’s unparalleled historical development has made it necessary for university student ensembles of the early 21st Century to bridge Chinese, Asian, Western, and global cultures like nowhere else. Student members of the Cantoría are trained in Western music as a central part of their “own” tradition from an early age, and yet they contribute to Hong Kong-Chinese choral development with new works performed in Mandarin and Cantonese that are distinctive from those composed elsewhere in China.

At the same time, Hong Kong’s status as an international travel and financial center provides the group with unique collaborative opportunities like that in The Suppliant Women, while the inclusion of international university faculty at Hong Kong institutions – in this case an American faculty-conductor long trained in modern Asian languages and international musical forms – brings the need for contemporary world choral music. This is to say that, although the specific combination of traditions captured in this album may not have been inevitable, they embody a fundamental interaction of Chinese-Western-global that is inherent to the Hong Kong locale and is continuously cultivated in ensemble programming.

The album’s subtitle Choral Encounters of Hong Kong, China, and the Distant West, then, from the standpoint of the Cantoría, describes a musical condition that is simultaneously aligned with yet distanced from all the traditions it experiences, including Cantonese choral expression that is relatively new to the members. Put another way, in the Hong Kong soundscape, all forms of choral repertoire are embraced with limitations, and the most familiar Western form is at least partly experienced from the outside, never fully internalized.

This collection features recent works, including three choral recording premieres, by prominent composers from Hong Kong, Brazil, and the United Kingdom. Not only does it intersect cultures and historical eras, it also presents a rare combination of styles and genres in a single choral setting. The two sets of Chinese texts on this album are set to classical poetry, which is a testament to the high status that literature holds in Chinese culture. Chan Hing-Yan’s work is scored for a choral-piano duo mixing Chinese folk and dissonant modern sonorities, but where the extended piano techniques themselves play multiple musical roles. The two accompanied Cantonese works by Chan Kai-Young are in an accessible, contemporary choral language that also typifies popular Hong Kong music, but where piano gestures reflect aspects of traditional Chinese instrumental music. John Browne’s Suppliant Women score combines elements of ancient Greek drama with contemporary choral theatre, as the chorus assumes the role of group protagonist in a novel partnership with percussion and the ancient aulos – the successful reproduction of the obscure reed instrument by Callum Armstrong facilitated the rediscovery of the Greek choral form in a 21st-century format. The unaccompanied Suíte Nordestina captures folk idioms of Brazil that are themselves amalgams of South American, African, and Portuguese forms, in which the voices sing intertwining melodies and imitate percussion instruments.

Older German and French works of the Western choral canon also figure into this collection, as they serve core pedagogical functions to Hong Kong university music majors yet emanate from cultural contexts that are perceived as “foreign” to most Cantoría members. The Brahms Zigeunerlieder were conceived as an accompanied part-song cycle for solo quartet and, in 19th-century Viennese society, were prized for their symbolic blending of uninhibited exotic culture and Western art music. If Hungarian Gypsy music was once seen as “oriental” in the eyes of Western Europe, it is surely just as much exotic “other” to the Hong Kong choral ensemble. Poulenc’s chansons cycle for unaccompanied choir, in its clever bucolic setting, is equally esoteric to Hong Kong tertiary students as a social commentary of French folk life, even if it serves as a familiar musical vehicle for learning lyric diction. The album presented here thus offers a two-directional glimpse at the eclectic musical texts: from Hong Kong, we peer back toward the Chinese and non-Chinese origins of our composite worldview; from elsewhere, we observe the cosmopolitan “fragrant harbor” through a new choral-cultural lens.

— John Winzenburg

Quotation of Queries was written for six-part chorus and amplified piano by Hong Kong composer Chan Hing-Yan on commission from the Hong Kong Learners’ Chorus in 1999 and rearranged in 2000 for The Song Company (Australia). It consists of five short movements, sung in Mandarin, on text fragments excerpted from the poems by Su Dongpo (also known as Su Shi, 1037-1101) from China’s Song Dynasty (960-1279). In this choral setting, the composer intentionally departs from the original meanings of the poems. Instead, they are distorted and recast musically as antireality. The connecting force of the work is that each section poses a query. The five queries are: “What do you think human life is like here or there?” “Who sees a hermit pacing up and down alone?” “Who is performing Huanyi’s three farewell tunes?” “Who says Dongpo is old?” and “When can I just ignore the encumbrance?”

For historical reasons, Hong Kong’s Chinese-texted secular choral works of the 20th Century had usually been sung in Mandarin, and even as recently as 2010, many local practitioners had believed that Cantonese choral music was untenable.  The scoring of Quotation of Queries in counterpoint to the Chan Kai-Young works further reveals contrasting approaches to Mandarin and Cantonese choral performance practices. Chinese is written with one syllable per character. While Mandarin is regarded as the national language linking Chinese communities in numerous countries, it also relates to Cantonese via a common Chinese pictographic script (written in a simplified form in Mainland China and in the traditional “complex” form in Hong Kong and Taiwan) and tonal spoken delivery systematically based on different pitch levels and rising/falling tones. But the two differ significantly in pronunciation: whereas Mandarin is based on four main tones, Cantonese is regarded to have nine tones in various registers. The presence of spoken tones has the potential to create a closer relationship between recitation and singing than exists in Western languages. However, composers of Mandarin choral music do not generally link sung melodic lines with spoken tonal inflections as closely as composers of Cantonese choral works do. In Quotation of Queries, sung lines tend to follow Western bel canto vocal practices, while declaimed text closely adheres to the tonal inflections of spoken Mandarin.

At the same time, many contemporary choral works written around the world seek to capture a vocal aesthetic that lies outside of or in combination with the conventional Western bel canto approach. Quotation of Queries employs various unconventional vocal effects, such as tongue clicks, whispers, recitation, and overtones, as well as challenging conventional techniques, including long-sustained tones in open fifths to produce the sense of emptiness and uncertainty.

The prepared piano also plays a central role in tandem with the choir. The use of extended “inside-the-piano” effects is prevalent and includes both plucking and muting the strings, touching the nodes to produce harmonics, and strumming glissandi over the strings. The piano is amplified in live performance in order to make the subtle timbral effects audible. The mystical, ethereal quality created by these effects reflects the metaphysical depth of the ancient texts, now recast in modern musical language. Even the piano’s imitation of the plucked Chinese pipa (lute) in “Who Says that Dongpo Is Old” is laced with irony: The player mutes the inside piano strings with one hand as the keys are struck with the other, creating a dampened sound that is the opposite of the bright pipa timbre. The contrasting moods of the first four movements – violent, tranquil, mysterious, and playful – lead to immateriality in “Ignore the Encumbrance” (no mood indication is given in movement 5). The other-world aura is only shattered in the closing moments of the work, when the reciter declares “Gloomily, I awake from my dream!” and the piano is finally unleashed at full volume for a single, short outburst of vibrating sound at extreme low and high registers.

— Chan Hing-Yan and John Winzenburg

The Suppliant Women is the first part of a trilogy written 2,500 years ago by the Greek writer Aeschylus in the 5th century BC. The other two plays were lost, but The Suppliant Women confronts key issues of physical abuse, flight from persecution, asylum, and risk of war that have long confronted human civilization. It tells the story of the 50 daughters of Danaos, who have fled Egypt with their father in order to avoid forced marriage to their cousins, the sons of Aegyptos. The refugees seek asylum in their Greek ancestral home of Argos and force the local King Pelasgos into a life-threatening dilemma: to turn the women away and risk offending Zeus, or to take them in and risk war with Egypt? It is in this plot that the first-recorded use of the word “democracy” appears and anticipates the birth of decisions being made by citizen vote.

This Cantoría recording is an arranged choral suite of selected scenes from a contemporary musical adaptation of The Suppliant Women. The full production by the Actors Touring Company (ATC) and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh is from the new English text version by David Greig and composer John Browne. Whereas Greek theater is known for its structured use of a chorus for dramatic purposes, The Suppliant Women is noteworthy for featuring the chorus as the collective protagonist. Here the chorus women remain on stage throughout the entire production and are involved in all elements of dialogue, dramatization, singing, and dance. The Cantoría formed the core of the chorus in the March 2018 Hong Kong Arts Festival production of The Suppliant Women with the ATC – the first to be performed outside of the United Kingdom and by a non-native English-speaking chorus. Browne’s musical score is even more significant for employing elements of the original Greek context through the inclusion of percussion and the ancient double-reed, double-pipe aulos, in partnership with a modern SATB choir.

The play begins with a choral ode (song to the Gods) Parados, which is a processional marking the entrance of the suppliant women. They arrive at a temple outside the Greek city of Argos carrying suppliant branches and telling of the trials of their sea voyage from Egypt. The women claim to be descendants of Io, mortal lover of the Greek God Zeus, who came from Argos. They entreat Zeus to grant them protection, shortly before the arrival of their father Danaos and the King of Argos.

Danaos and the King have gone to plead the case of the suppliants to the Argos citizens. Ode 2 begins with the pastoral sound of animals around the temple, and the women again pray to Zeus for hope and inspiration by recounting the story of their ancestor Io.

Danaos returns and informs his daughters that the citizens of Argos have voted unanimously to grant them asylum in the city. The women respond with Ode 3 as a grand song of praise to the people of Argos. As they pray for the city’s peace and protection from Ares, God of war, they break into passionate dancing and shouting, before collecting themselves in a solemn oath to reverence for custom, for women and suppliants as “the three strong pillars that hold up justice!”

The celebration is short-lived, however, as Danaos and the daughters catch sight of Egyptian boats ferrying toward Argos on the horizon. Danaos goes to rally the people of Argos, and the sons of Aegyptos, led by the Herald, are soon heard approaching the temple. In the 3rd Amoibaion (marking lyric dialogue in Greek theater), the Egyptians threaten the defiant daughters, who mock the men and brace for pain as they call to Argos for help.

The Egyptians have, for the time being, been driven away by the King of Argos. The women then prepare to enter the city, assuring their father that they will not marry until they are dead. The Exodus is their song of triumph as the citizens of Argos come to greet them and wish them blessings and marriage. (The same Cantoría members sing both adolescent and adult roles, changing voice types within a single breath.) The young women, ever defiant, reject the tidings of their protectors and instead ask Zeus to grant them eternal equality as they enter their new home.

— John Winzenburg

Poetic texts have long served as inspiration for European secular choral music, and Johannes Brahms was especially attentive to setting texts of various poets in German. Like many composers of the 18th and 19th Centuries, Brahms also adapted musical ideas and texts from cultures that lie outside the boundaries of Western art music as inspiration. He was especially interested in music of the Hungarian Roma people, commonly known as Gypsies, who had become popular for their “foreignness,” even though they dwelt within the Austro-Hungarian Empire of the time. Hugo Conrat sent Brahms a set of 25 Hungarian folk melodies, entitled Ungarishe Liebeslieder, in 1887 with accompaniments by Zoltán Nagy. According to Natasha Loges, Conrat had rendered those texts into German poetic verse after receiving paraphrased versions from two Hungarian women (Victoria von Szalay and Marie Witzl) who had served as nannies to his daughters. Brahms then reconceived 11 of the Zigeunerlieder for SATB solo voices because he frequented social Viennese social gatherings, and with the new pieces he could accompany a solo quartet of able singers on piano as they snacked on cakes together. The songs quickly gained popularity with the wider public, and Brahms reset part of the collection for solo voice. Both versions have since become established within the Western canon.

A common thread of this album is how texts and traditions of distant cultures are interpreted across time and space. Brahms loosely adapted the set that he received from Conrat to fit the late German Romantic salon style, which itself is reconstituted as both “foreign” and “familiar” to the 21st-century Hong Kong ensemble. Brahms re-composed the original tunes from Nagy and set his own harmonic scheme to each piece, but he maintained some basic rhythmic features and melodic contours, which were suggestive of the Hungarian style. Most noteworthy, as can be heard in the four movements recorded here, is the heavily weighted duple meter appearing in different contexts. The order of the movements has thus been altered for purposes of overall flow in suite-like fashion.

“He, Zigeuner, greife in die Saiten ein” is unusual for the Allegro agitato manner in which it begins a song cycle: the opening tenor solo enters forte in the upper range and rapidly descends over wide leaps inflected by three consecutive leading tones; while the piano plays driving left hand rhythms in simple meter against right hand triplets – a cross rhythm that is common to Brahms. The two sections of the piece are both sung in a call-and-response manner between the solo and choir, before the SATB voices repeat the entire verse Più presto and sempre forte.

“Kommt dir manchmal in den Sinn” is one of the more subdued movements of the cycle, scored in a graceful Andantino to express the tone of solemn love. The two-part verse also appears in a call-and-response texture between soloist and choir, but here the simplicity of the solo and piano part is countered by greater chromaticism in the four voice parts. The second half of the verse appears even more impassioned, with continuous, urgent motion in the piano, to underscore the solo text, “Leave me not, deceive me not, you know not how much I love you,” before reaching its climactic point in the final choral phrase.

“Horch, der Wind klagt in den Zweigen” exhibits late-Romantic text painting, where the soft, flowing melody is transferred throughout each voice of the choir to suggest the wind wailing through the branches in the night. The mood intensifies as voices are added and the melody is sounded brilliantly in the piano. But the dynamic softens at verse end, as if the wind fades in the distance to signal the time for the two lovers to depart. “Brauner Bursche führt zum Tanze” captures the jocular spirit of young lovers at the dance, as is heard in the ascending triplet figures of the piano. Its melodic rhythm of strong-weak-weak, strong-weak-weak also hearkens to the Gypsy style, while the wide leaps on “whirls her, leads her, shouts and leaps” again augments the folk material with dramatic choral text painting.

— John Winzenburg

The Chansons Françaises by French composer Francis Poulenc are based on (anonymous) French poetry and written in the style of popular folk tunes. Poulenc had remained in occupied Paris during World War II, and he composed this celebratory set in 1945-46 in part to help soothe the wounds of war and restore a sense of national pride and optimism. Poulenc was a prolific writer of French songs, and the combination of both serious and humorous themes here, alongside the clear attention given to pronounced melodies in each piece, show deep intuition of the feisty, secular chanson tradition.

“Margoton va t’a liau” depicts the frivolous yet unsuccessful attempts by three young lads to win the heart of the girl Margoton, who has fallen into a well and tricks them into pulling her to safety without declaring her love for any of them. Shifting textures between male and female voices represent the unfolding interplay. “La belle se siet au pied de la tour” sets a crying maiden in dialogue with her father, again in shifting female-male responses, but with mournfully flowing voice lines. When the daughter discovers that her loved one is to be hanged tomorrow at dawn, she responds, “Father, if he is to be hanged, bury me beneath the spot, then people will say, ‘that was true love’.” The mood turns heartier in “Pilons l’orge” – as the village wives grind the barley, they complain in jest of being married off to nasty husbands, and joke that it is their men who will get the real beating if they don’t show better behavior!

“Clic, clac, dansez sabots” is a swaggering dance sung by tenors and basses in divisi. It pits a group of young hooligans out looking for dance partners against the father of one girl who catches their fancy: at first, he violently mocks them, only to decide that he’d rather join them in their juvenile wandering in order to feel young again!  The final verse thus fades away as they all continue together down the lane. “Les tisserands” is a boisterous drinking song, in which the whole village pokes fun at the unrefined lifestyle of the weavers: as each day of the week is recounted, the weavers seems to spend more time at play than at work, but when Sunday comes, they always want their pay!

— John Winzenburg

The Two Cantonese Pieces by Hong Kong composer Chan Kai-Young, like Quotation of Queries above, are also set to poetry by Song Dynasty poet Su Dongpo (Su Shi). In contrast to the Quotation, however, Chan Kai-Young’s works indicate that the Chinese written characters be sung in Cantonese, which is spoken in Hong Kong and parts of the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. Cantonese choral music is a very new form, with composed works only appearing in significant numbers over the past decade. Yet the Cantonese creates a unique choral sound by including upwardly gliding inflections and sustained final u/i vowels and n/ng/m consonants.

“Under the Mid-Autumn Moon” (水調歌頭 Seui Diu Go Tau) is originally about the annual Mid-Autumn Festival, traditionally one of the most important family occasions on the Chinese lunar calendar, in which the full moon is a symbol of reunion and thoughts for family and friends who, though they may be thousands of miles apart, can still share in its resplendent beauty.

Based on the famous poem “When will the moon be bright and clear?” by Su Dongpo, “Seui Diu Go Tau” (literally: Water Melody Prelude) is the Cantonese transliteration of a tune title. Like many ancient writings, the poem was originally intended to be sung to the titular melody. The text extols the vision of the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival, reminding the poet of his beloved brother Zi You, from whom he has been separated for a long time.  The introductory section of the poem (not included in the choral text) reveals that the author was drunk while composing the work: “During the Mid-Autumn Festival in the year Bing Chen, I drank happily until dawn and in a drunken state wrote this poem while thinking of Zi You.”  The first two verses express solitude and bitterness at the moon for only showing its fullness at times of separation. But the final verse turns hopeful, expressing the poet’s reunion with his family in spirit, even if not in person, under the full moon of mid-autumn.

This choral setting was inspired by the composer’s similar sense of nostalgia, separation, and hope. It was written around the time of the Mid-Autumn Festival, while Chan was a doctoral student in Philadelphia in 2014. Like many Hong Kong students studying Chinese classics, Chan Kai-Young had learned to recite “Seui Diu Go Tau” in Cantonese during his school years. In this choral setting, written on commission from Edition Peters (UK) for the Chinese choral anthology Half Moon Rising and premiered by the Cantoría in 2015, Chan closely allies the melody of the different poetic phrases with the Cantonese inflections as it might be recited. The piano part is also scored to imitate the style of a plucked Chinese guzheng zither in many passages. This is particularly audible with the descending four-note sequence of grace notes that appear in the left hand throughout and in the open fifths that double the choir during the final bars of the work.

“The Crane Releasing Pavilion” (放鶴亭記 Fong Hok Ting Kei) was commissioned by the Cantoría for this recording project and its summer 2018 premiere as a complementary partner to “Under the Mid-Autumn Moon” by the same poet Su Dongpo. Hong Kong has witnessed a sudden interest in Cantonese-language choral composition over the past decade – in part because of its inexplicable and almost complete absence before 2010 – but also because Cantonese shares many linguistic features that existed during the period in which the classical Chinese poetry was composed. Whereas Mandarin has only been the official Chinese language for several hundred years, Cantonese is recognized as one of the oldest dialects in China. “The Crane Releasing Pavilion” captures linguistic and musical nuances alike. The Cantonese pronunciation highlights the characteristic “stopped” consonants (formed in the mouth but not sounded) k, p, and t at the ends of syllables, creating additional rhythmic verve in the text. The musical setting of the two poetic verses is equally dynamic, with the continuous piano line conveying the magnificent vision of a poet’s flock of birds as they swoop together, soaring among the clouds. But at the end of the day, the poet beckons his cranes, “Come back! Come back! You cannot linger in the western mountains, for it is your master standing here who feeds you!”

— John Winzenburg

Brazilian composer Ronaldo Miranda finished his Suíte Nordestina in 1982. In that same year, the work received an award at the Concurso Nacional de Arranjos Corais de Música Folclórica Brasileira, promoted by the Fundação Nacional de Arte. Suíte Nordestina (Northeastern Suite) is a four-movement choral suite freely based on folk melodies from Northeastern Brazil. Because of its folk content, the arrangements have a certain nationalist flavor with simple harmonies and syncopated, interlocking rhythmic patterns. It also features the presence of the embolada style in the second and fourth movements. Embolada is a poetic-musical process from the coastal areas of Northeastern Brazil characterized by a somewhat declamatory melody, very fast and repetitive passages, and a comical text.

The four movements alternate in mood: “Morena bonita” and “Bumba chora” are lyrical and expressive of love and sadness – a Bumba is a type of low-pitched drum, the sound of which reminds the speaker of crying. “Dendê trapiá” and “Eu vou, eu vou” are, on the other hand, jovial and humorously irreverent, with their ironic references to falling coconuts and macaúba (palm tree) leaves. In the lively second movement, the Coco (literally, coconut) is a type of Brazilian folk song heard mostly in the states around the northeastern tip of Brazil, and both Dendê and trapiá are plants from which cooking oil is extracted. In the final movement, the choral voices depict the percussive sounds of shakers and the careless fall (“xá uai! tum!”) of the baritone soloist after stepping on a slippery mango, even as he himself makes fun of another clown’s wife falling out of bed and breaking her neck!

— Daniel R. Afonso, Jr. and John Winzenburg


Cantoria Hong Kong & National Youth Choir of Great Britain - Selections from Half Moon Rising

National Youth Choir of Great Britain & Cantoria Hong Kong - Star of the County Down, Arr. Ben Parry

Cantoria Hong Kong - 水光瀲灩 Shui Guang Lian Yan (Ripples Glisten Away . . .)

Cantoria Hong Kong - Gibbons, Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis from The Short Service


I. 前奏


II. 幽人


III. 桓伊三弄

新⽉愁煙去還留 。
落花⾶絮送⾏⾈ 。

IV. 誰説東坡老


V. 忘卻營營

⼈似⾶鴻來有信 ,

何如? 占得⼈間⼀味愚!




What do you think human life is like here or there?
What is human life like?
What is it like?


From a sparse plane tree hangs the waning moon;
The water clock is still and hushed is man.
Who sees a hermit pacing up and down alone?
Is it the shadow of a swan?
Startled, he turns his head,
as maple leaves are falling into the frosty Wu River.


The new moon and the gloomy mist ebb and flow.
Who is performing Huanyi’s three farewell tunes?
Falling petals and flying catkins see the sailing boat off.


Who says that Dongpo is old?
Who laughs at me for turning my hair grey so early?
Don’t be upset by the rooster’s hastening crow!
Aging is not confined to me in this world!
Who says that Dongpo is old?
Who laughs at me for turning my hair grey so early?
I’ve said that I’m not old at all!


Ignore the encumbrance!
When can I just ignore the encumbrance?
Old friends like autumn swans keep punctually the date;
The bygones like spring dreams have left no traces here.

Ignore the encumbrance!
When can I just ignore the encumbrance?
If you ask me what my talents are,
Oh, they are no more than a handful of mediocrity!

Ignore the encumbrance! Ignore the encumbrance!
Listen not to the rain beating against the trees.
Why don’t you slowly walk and chant at ease.

When can I just ignore the encumbrance?
Drums beat thrice in the night so deep,
Even a leaf falls with sound so loud,
A tired wanderer being so far from home,
Gloomily, I awake from my dream!



O Zeus
God of sanctuary grant us asylum
We are Women of Egypt,
Neighbours of Syria,
Who dug our toes into the soft sand
at the mouth of the Nile,
And pushed our boat into the sea, to flee.
O Zeus!

We didn’t flee from famine,
feud or flood,
blood or crime,
But from men,
The unholy sons of King Aegyptos,
to whom we’re force-betrothed.
Our cousin men, four dozen men,
Who want to marry us
They disgust us.
O Zeus!

Danaos, our father, planned it for us,
He plotted the game well, and led us
Across the great sea-board
Till we landed here, on our ancestral shore
Argos! Argos!
And what better city to take us in than this?
Argos! Argos!

Long, long ago
In the gorgeous, green pasture,
Our ancestral mother
Io was singing,
And you Zeus, you saw her
And wanted to take her, you wanted to fill her,
With breath and with touch
But Hera, your wife,
In this very same meadow,
Turned joyous Io
From girl into cow.

O Zeus!
Sea fleeing is hard
But ah it was glorious
To give ourselves up to the waves
And be blown,
thrown, spun, stung,
burned, smashed, crashed
and spat out
On the shingled shore of Argos, Argos.

Land of Io!
Take us in.
Rocks of Argos!
Take us in.
Rivers! Trees!
Take us in.
Ghosts of Argos! Furies! Muses!
Take us in. Take us in.
Gods of Argos!
Take us in.

We come to you begging, a boat-load of women,
Armed only with these, our suppliant branches.
You guided our boat here, you gave us beach breezes
And now Zeus, we need your protection again.
Soon we’ll see, on the horizon,
A ship full of rape, a swarm full of violence
A ship full of man-imals, hungry for girl-flesh,
Howling like hounds and chasing us down.
Smash them with storms, Zeus, beat them with waves,
Blast them with thunder, crack up their crime-ship,
Bind them with seaweed, before they bind us.



Io! Io!

O Zeus
Most blessed king of blessed kings,
Mighty wave of power,
Use your force to
Stop male violence.

Take the hearts of men
And plunge them
Into a lake of blood,
Forever tether
The bull of madness
To which men yoke their souls.

O Zeus,
Look kindly on the woman’s side,
Remember Io.
You loved her,
She lived here
Long ago
In that beautiful story.
Remember her
She belonged to you.
We belong to you

You cradled her with gentle strength
Blew life back inside her
Til she felt so safe she could let fall
All the grief she’d borne
All the tears and shame and sorrow
All fell away
Until in peace
She could at last let fall
A calf Epaphos
Blameless baby
Dropped Into the warm mud of the Nile.

O that calf was a happy calf
All through his long and lucky life,
Which is why Egyptians say
We’re children of Lord Zeus Protector
For Zeus it was who fathered us
From that gentle child of Egypt
Born beside the Nile’s waters.

Oh Zeus.
There’s no one above you
What you want, happens.
Furious Zeus
You made us.
And you can do
Furious Zeus!



Come, let us offer a praise-prayer to Argos,
Praise, for they give us the gift of asylum.
Zeus, god of suppliants, let our girl-voices
Sing out the truth.
Argos is good!

May war never fall here,
May fields here never burn,
May the graves here never eat up
The flesh of her sons,
For the people of Argos took pity,
Pity on us pitiful birds
And voted us shelter.

They didn’t vote to protect male power.
They didn’t vote to undermine women.
They saw Zeus
On their roof,
Heavy Zeus,
Waiting to see if they did the right thing,
And they did.
The conscience of Argos is clean and it’s pure.

May the old men of Argos
Always light altars,
May the city be ordered
And always be holy,
Your land full of farmers,
The hands of your midwives
Always full of new life.

And don’t let Ares,
Bloodthirsty Ares,
God of war,
Bring war
Cry war,
That God who hates all music,
The God who hates all dance,
Bring war
Cry war.

May her poets be brilliant,
May their hymns all be holy,
And may her politicians
Act always with honour
Protecting Argos,
Consulting together,
And always respect
The rights of a stranger.

May the old ways of Argos
always be honoured.
Since reverence for custom,
for women and suppliants,
Are the three strong pillars
that hold up justice!



Ho ho ho ho
Ha ha ha ha
Ho ho ho ho
Ha ha ha ha








We will fight you, men of shit.




When we shout, we wake the gods.


I see. There must be a dance
before the work of violation.


Ah ah ah ah
Come to us, you Argive farmers!
Save us all, these men are monsters.
Wolves on the land and sharks at sea!
King Pelasgos, please protect us!


Ai ai ai ai!
Hurry! Hurry! To the barges.
Fast as pretty feet will take you.
Won’t there, won’t there
Be hair pulling,
Holding, gripping, dragging, branding?
Hurry! Hurry!
Damned women.
Hurry! Hurry!
To the barges!
Won’t there, won’t there
Be beheadings?
Don’t be disobedient now!


I wish you’d sunk!
I wish you’d died!
In salty seas on your crap ship!
Why couldn’t the lovely waves expunge you!
Salty death on your crap ship!


To the barges! To the barges!
Damned women board the boats!
If you do not cease your shouting
We will beat you!
Barges, now!


We will never go to Egypt,
We will never see the Nile.
Nile feeds the pigs before us.
Pigs before us – stinking vile.


We are powerful as the sea
Deep! Deep! Deep! Deep!
We will take you like a wave
Deep! Deep! Deep! Deep!
You will be on barges with us.
Ship! Ship! Ship! Ship!
This is how we solve a problem,
Force! Force! Force! Force!
What you want no longer matters
You are lovely, hair and dresses
Come to meet our fists, your masters.
Fists! Fists! Fists! Fists!


Ai! ai! ai! ai!
Why can’t you die!
Die from the punch of a salt fist.
Body washed up on a lost beach
Syrian wind in your papery skin.
Ai! Ai! Ai! Ai!
Why can’t you die!


Shout! Dance! It makes us happy.
Shout! Dance! Call your gods.
Shout! Dance! When we whip you.


You blasphemer, you are filthy
Maggoty meat-men
Rats in a drain-men
Never the Nile will see you again–men!


To the ships now, as I tell you,
You, don’t dawdle, standing there
You look pretty, better hurry.
Dragging is no respecter of hair.


Ot ot ot ot ot ot – oi oi!
The temple is destroyed,
Spider coming. Spider dragging
Down to the beach with the boys, boys.
Ot ot ot ot ot ot - oi oi!
O gods of earth, destroy,
These terrible, pitiful boys,
We are to be their toys.
Ot ot ot ot ot ot – oi oi!


Don’t pray, too late, it’s done.
Your gods won’t stop our fun.
They’re not our gods, they’re Greek gods.
We disrespect each one.


Ot ot ot ot ot ot – oi oi!


Stop talking and come or there will be ripping.
These sailors’ rough hands won’t respect your fine clothing.
Don’t leave yourself open to beating and stripping.


Snake on two feet
Spitting his poison
Ready to strike us.
Will his bite hurt?


Forget about Argos. Forget about voters.
The Sons of Aegyptos are your masters now.
Do not resist anything, we’ll treat you specially,
If you submit to us all will be well.


Voters of Argos, we’re taken!



Let’s go to the city now, glorifying
The gods of the city now, glorifying
You people who live in the city of Argos,
Welcome us kindly.
No more will you hear of us
Praising the Nile
Welcome us in. Welcome us in.
Now all our love is for the river Erasinos
Flowing so calm through meadows of Argos,
Filling her fields with all her children.
You people who live in the city of Argos,
Welcome us in.


Girls, all we wish for you is blessings and marriage.


Aphrodite, take pity,
Don’t force us to wed.
Leave us chaste we beg you,
We’ll marry, we promise,
One day when we’re dead.


Girls, wait,
It’s not wise to
Bait Aphrodite.
She’s equal to Hera,
Second only to Zeus.
She whispers the words we yearn to obey.
Subtle and clever,
Longing brings ache and desire for union.
Goddess of love,
She cuts the paths where all our love affairs run
Til Harmony strikes a note deep in our souls,
Goddess of love.


O Zeus, dear lord, deprive us
Of marriage to men we hate!
You healed and freed our ancestor Io,
Now show us that same kindness -
We pray to you, O Zeus;
Give equal power to women
And from this blessing let justice flow.


He, Zigeuner, greife in die Saiten ein,
spiel das Lied vom ungetreuen Mägdelein!
Laß die Saiten weinen, klagen, traurig bange,
bis die heiße Tränen netzet diese Wange!


Kommt dir manchmal in den Sinn,
mein süßes Lieb,
was du einst mit heilgem Eide
mir gelobt?
Täusch mich nicht, verlaß mich nicht,
du weißt nicht, wie lieb ich dich hab,
lieb du mich, wie ich dich,
dann strömt Gottes Huld auf dich herab.


Horch, der Wind klagt in den Zweigen traurig sacht;
süßes Lieb, wir müssen scheiden: gute Nacht!
Ach, wie gern in deinen Armen ruhte ich!
Doch die Trennungsstunde naht,
Gott schütze dich.

Dunkel ist die Nacht, kein Sternlein spendet Licht;
süßes Lieb, vertrau auf Gott und weine nicht!
Führt der liebe Gott mich einst zu dir zurück,
bleiben ewig wir vereint in Liebesglück.


Brauner Bursche führt zum Tanze
sein blauäugig schönes Kind,
schlägt die Sporen keck zusammen,
Csardas-Melodie beginnt;
küßt und herzt sein süßes Täubchen,
dreht sie, führt sie, jauchzt und springt!
Wirft drei blanke Silbergulden
Auf das Cimbal, daß es klingt.


Ho, gypsy, strike your strings,
play the song of the faithless girl!
Let the strings weep and wail in anxiety and despair,
'til hot tears moisten this cheek!


Do you sometimes recall in your mind,
my sweet love,
what you once vowed to me
with a sacred oath?
Do not deceive me, do not leave me,
you do not know how much I love you,
love me as I love you,
then God’s grace will pour down on you.


Hark, the wind wails softly and sadly in the branches;
sweet love, we must part: good night!
Ah, I would gladly stay in your arms!
But the hour of parting approaches,
may God protect you.

The night is dark, no tiny star sheds its light;
sweet love, trust in God and do not weep!
Loving God will lead you back to me one day,
and we will remain united in love’s bliss forever.


A swarthy lad leads his beautiful
blue-eyed girl to the dance,
boldly clicks his spurs together,
a Csardas melody begins;
he kisses and caresses his sweet loved one,
whirls her, leads her, shouts and leaps!
Throws three shining silver guilders
on the cymbal so that it rings.


Margoton va t’a liau avec que son cruchon. La fountaine était creuse, elle est tombée au fond: Aïe, aïe, aïe, aïe se dit Margoton. Par la passèrent trois jeunes et beaux garçons. Que don’rez-vous la belle qu’on vous tir’ du fond? Tirez d’abord, dit-elle, après ça nous verrons. Quand la bell’ fut tirée commence une chanson. Ce n’est pas ça la bell’ que nous vous demandons. C’est votre petit coeur savoir si nous l’aurons. Mon petit coeur, messir’s, n’est point pour greluchons.


La belle se siet au pied de la tour Qui pleure et soupire et mène grand dolour. Son père lui demande; fille, qu’avez-vous? Volez-vous mari ou volez-vous seignour? Je ne veuille mari, je ne veuille seignour, je veuille le mien ami qui pourrit en la tour. Par Dieu, ma belle fille alors ne l’aurez vous, car il sera pendu demain au point du jour. Père, si on le pend, enfouyés moi dessous: Ainsi diront les gens, ce sont loyales amours.


Pilons l’orge, pilons l’orge, pilons l’orge, pilons la. Mon père m’y maria, pilons l’orge, pilons la, a un villain m’y donna, tirez vous ci, tirez vous ça. Qui de rien ne me donna, pilons l’orge, pilons la, Mais s’il continue cela, pilons l’orge, pilons la, battu vraiment il sera, tirez vous ci, tirez vous la. Pilons l’orge pilons l’orge, pilons l’orge, pilons la.


Clic, clac, dansez sabots et que crèvent les bombardes! Clic, clac dansez sabots, et qu’éclatent les pipeaux. Mais comment mener la danse Quand les belle n’y sont pas? Allons donc quérir les filles, ben sur qu’il n’en manqu’ra pas? Ben l’bonjour messieux et dames, Donn’rez vous la bell’ que v’la?
Les fill’s c’est fait pour l’ménage et pour garder la maison. Ouais mais pour fair’ mariage vous faudra ben des garçons. Vous n’en avez point fait d’aotre, vous patronne et vous patron Allez donc ensemble au diable, ça s’ra ben un débarras. Ah! Patron et vous patronne, qu’on s’embrasse pour de bon.


Les tisserands sont pir’ que les évèques, Tous les lundis ils s’en font une fête Et tipe et tape et tipe et tape Est-il trop gros, est-il trop fin Et couchés tard, levés matin, En roulant la navette le beau temps viendra. Tous les lundis ils s’en font une fête Et le mardi ils ont mal à la tête. Le mercredi ils vont charger leur pièce. Et le jeudi ils vont voir leur maîtresse. Le vendredi ils travaillent sans cesse. Le samedi la pièce n’est pas faite. Et le dimanche il faut de l’argent, maître.


Margoton went to the water with her small jug. The well was deep and she fell to the bottom. “Oh dear, dear, dear, dear,” cried Margoton. Three handsome young lads passed by. “What would you give us if we pull you out, my beauty?” “Pull me out first,” she said, “then we shall see.” When she was pulled out, she began to sing. “That’s not what we had in mind, my beauty.” “We want to know if we may have your little heart.” “My little heart, sirs, is not for fancy men.”


The beautiful maid sat at the foot of the tower, crying, sighing and carrying on in great distress. Her father asked her, “Daughter, what’s the matter?” “Do you want a husband, or do you want a lord?” “I don’t want a husband, I don’t want a lord, I want my true love who lies rotting in the tower.” “Good Lord, my girl, you can’t have him, for he is to be hanged tomorrow at dawn.” “Father, if he is to be hanged, bury me beneath the spot, then people will say, ‘that was true love’.”


Grind the barley, grind the barley, grind the barley, grind it. My father married me off grind the barley, grind it. He gave me to a nasty man tug it here, tug it there. Who has given me nothing grind the barley, grind it. But if he continues in that manner, grind the barley, grind it. I’ll really give him a beating tug it here, tug it there. Grind the barley, grind the barley, grind the barley, grind it.


Click, clack! Dance, clogs, till the bagpipes burst! Click, clack! Dance, clogs, till the reed-pipes split. But how can we lead the dance without any pretty girls here? Let us go and fetch the girls and be sure not to miss any. “Good day ladies and gents, will you give me the pretty maid here?” “Girls are made for cleaning and keeping the house.” “Yes! But for making a marriage you need many lads.” “Haven’t you made any others like her sir and madam?” “To the devil all of you! That will be a good riddance.” “Ah! Sir and madam, let us embrace each other for the sake of friendship.”


The weavers are worse than bishops, every Monday they celebrate. And tip and tap and tip and tap, is it too thick, is it too thin, go to bed late, get up early, keep the shuttle rolling and the good times will come around. Every Monday they celebrate Tuesday they have a headache. Wednesday they load their loom. Thursday they go to see their mistress. Friday they work all day. Saturday the cloth is definitely not made. And on Sunday, we want our money, master.


明月幾時有?(Ming yut gei si yau?)
把酒問青天。(Baa jau man ching tin.)
不知天上宮闕,(Bat ji tin seung gung kyut,)
今夕是何年。(gam jik si ho nin.)
我欲乘風歸去,(Ngo yuk sing fung gwai heui,)
又恐瓊樓玉宇,(yau hung king lau yuk yu,)
高處不勝寒。(gou chyu bat sing hon.)
起舞弄清影,(Hei mou nung ching ying,)
何似在人間?(ho chi joi yan gaan?)
轉朱閣,(Jyun jyu gok,)
低綺戶,(dai yi wu,)
照無眠。(jiu mou min.)
不應有恨,(Bat ying yau han,)
何事長向別時圓?(ho si cheung heung bit si yun?)
人有悲歡離合,(Yan yau bei fun lei hap,)
月有陰晴圓缺,(yut yau yam ching yun kyut,)
此事古難全。(chi si gu nan chyun.)
但願人長久,(Daan yun yan cheung gau,)
千里共嬋娟。(chin lei gung sim gyun.)

When will the moon be bright and clear?
Raising my wine glass, I ask the dark blue sky.
In the palace of heaven,
which season is it now?
Much as I want to ride the wind back to the palace,
I fear the pagodas of jade and mansions of crystal,
which are unbearably lofty and cold.
Dancing with my moonlit shadow,
how can I remain part of the mundane world?
The turning moonbeam is shed on the rouge mansion,
hanging upon the silk-padded window,
shining over the sleepless.
The moon should have no resentment,
but why is it always full in parting moments?
Humans have their time of sorrow and joy, parting and reunion,
the moon has its time of dimness and brightness, waning and waxing,
imperfections pervade all since the beginning of time.
May we be blessed with longevity,
a thousand miles apart as we may be, we could still share the beautiful full moon.


鶴飛去兮,西山之缺,(Hok fei heui hai, sai saan ji kyut)
高翔而下覽兮擇所適。(gou tseung yi haa lam hai jaak so sik)
翻然斂翼,宛將集兮,(Faan yin lim yik, yun jeung jaap hai)
忽何所見,矯然而復擊。(fat ho so gin, giu yin yi fuk gik)
獨終日於澗谷之間兮,(Duk jung yat yu gaan gok ji gaan hai)
啄蒼苔而履白石。(deuk tsong toi yi lei baak sek)
鶴歸來兮,東山之陰。(Hok gwai loi hai, dong saan ji yam)
其下有人兮,黃冠草屨,(Kei haa yau yan hai, wong gun tsou geui)
葛衣而鼓琴。(got yi yi gu kam)
躬耕而食兮,(Gung gaang yi sik hai)
其餘以汝飽。(kei yu yi yu baau)
歸來歸來兮,(Gwai loi gwai loi hai)
西山不可以久留。(sai saan bat ho yi gau lau)

Away! Away! My birds, fly westwards now
To wheel on high and gaze on all below
To swoop together, pinions closed, to earth;
To soar aloft once more among the clouds
To wander all day long in sedgy vale;
To gather duckweed in the stony marsh
Come back! Come Back!
Beneath the lengthening shades,
Your serge-clad master stands,
Guitar in hand.
‘Tis he that feeds you from his slender store:
Come back! Come back!
Nor linger in the west.


Morena bonita,
o que vem vê?
O sol nasceu, virou, pendeu…


Coco Dendê trapiá
Tá no jeitinho de embolá!

fui à grade da cadeia,
Lá vi eu a coisa feia
a bala dentro trovejá.

Cabra danado,
Se não tem corage eu tenho
De pegá cabra na faca
E amarrá sinhô no engenho.


Chora, chora,
O Bumba chora e eu vou-me embora.
Vou-me embora,
vou tocar minha viola.

Ê, Bumba chora!
Ah! ah! Chora meu Bumba.

Vou-me embora,
vou-me embora segunda-feira que vem.
Quem não me conhece chora,
qui dirá quem mi qué bem.

Amanhã vou pra escola
Aprendê a lê e a tocá viola.


Eu vou, eu vou,
Você não vai
apanhar macaúba no balaio.

A muié do paiaço é um colosso
caiu da cama, quebrou o pescoço.
Oi, pisei na manga, escorreguei
a minha roupa eu rasguei.

Vou apanhar macaúba,
Macaúba no balaio.


Beautiful brunette,
what have you come to see?
The sun rose, turned, but is already set…


The Dendê trapiá coconut,
It is about to fall!

I went to the jailhouse.
There I saw the “ugly thing”
fire a gun shot.

Bad guy,
if you don’t have the courage, I do,
to take him by force
and tie him to the mill.


Cry, cry,
The Bumba cries, and I leave.
I will leave,
I’m going to play my guitar.

Ah, cry, Bumba!
Ah! ah! Cry, my Bumba!

I will leave,
I will leave next Monday.
If those who don’t know me cry,
imagine those who like me.

Tomorrow I will go to school
to learn to read and play the guitar.


I’ll go, I’ll go,
but you won’t go
To pick up macaúba leaves with a basket.

The clown’s wife is “weird”;
she fell off the bed and broke her neck.
Oops! I stepped on a mango and slipped
and I tore my clothes!

I’ll go to pick up macaúba leaves
with a basket.