Stephen Tong, Music Director
Eunice Tong, Chorus Master
Dani Kurnia Ramadhan, Cello
Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra
Jakarta Oratorio Society


SAINT SAËNS Cello Concerto No. 1
     i. Allegro non troppo
     ii. Allegretto con moto
     iii. Tempo primo

INTERMISSION

MENDELSSOHN St. Paul
     i. Herr! Der du bist Gott
     ii. Dieser Mensch hört nicht auf
     iii. Siehe! wir preisen selig
     iv. Mache dich auf! Werde Licht!
     v. Wachet auf! ruft uns die Stimme
     vi. Wie lieblich sind die Boten
BACH St. Matthew Passion
     i. Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen
     ii. Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder

STEPHEN TONG, Music Director

Stephen Tong is a man of many gifts. Fatherless at the age of 3, he was born with extraordinary sensitivity to all forms of art including music, painting, architecture, and sculpture. When Stephen was only 17 years old, he started to conduct works of oratorios and sacred music.

In 1985, Stephen led a 7-city concert rallies for the commemoration of the 300th anniversary of J. S. Bach and G. F. Handel, well attended by 27,000 people. He then founded Jakarta Oratorio Society in 1986, which regularly performs concerts in Jakarta. Occasionally Stephen would lead the choir in their tour to Singapore, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

In December 2008, Stephen took Jakarta by storm when 9,000 people attended the 2-performances of Handel's Messiah choruses. Over 200 performers of Jakarta Oratorio Society and orchestra performed under his baton. This marked the largest audience in the history of classical music performance in Indonesia.

Aula Simfonia Jakarta is another exhibit of Stephen's architectural achievement, with Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra as the newly formed and appointed orchestra-in-residence and Jakarta Oratorio Society as the choir-in-residence, Stephen inaugurated all these in October 2009 with a series of concerts to celebrate. Alongside with Jahja Ling, world-renowned Indonesian born conductor, Stephen conducted the works of Bach, Beethoven, Handel, and Haydn. Entering its 10th season, Aula Simfonia Jakarta has hosted over 200 performances of classical concerts.


Stephen has frequently conduct symphonies of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven (all 9 symphonies), Brahms, and Dvorak; concertos for piano, cello, violin; overtures, incidental music, and sacred oratorios such as Haydn Creation, Mendelssohn Lobgesang, Mendelssohn Elijah, and Handel Messiah.

Stephen wanted to introduce and educate classical music to the people of Indonesia by bringing both Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra and Jakarta Oratorio Society in 2017. This Grand Concert Tour continued its journey in 2018, reaching Singapore with well received and sold out concert in Esplanade. Then in July 2019, the touring groups expanded its musical journey to Wei Wu Ying (Kaohsiung), National Concert Hall (Taipei), and Hong Kong. Jakarta as the capital of Indonesia was not left out, for its people witnessed one of the biggest crowds for classical music event in Konser Akbar Monas, attracting 23,000 people in attendance of different backgrounds, race, religion, and age.

Stephen is the Artistic Director of Aula Simfonia Jakarta, Music Director of Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra, and Jakarta Oratorio Society.

DANI KURNIA RAMADHAN, Cello

Dani Kurnia Ramadhan is an active member in Jakarta Concert Orchestra (principal), Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra (co-principal), and Jakarta Sinfonietta.

Dani started learning playing cello in the age of 20, when he entered conservatory in Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia. He has attended master classes by John Myerscough (Doric Strings quartet) in 2006, Damien Ventula (France) in 2007, Dimawan Krisnowo Adji (Yogyakarta), Haryo Yose Soejoto (Bandung), Oliver Mascarenhas (Germany) dan Yao Zhao (San Diego) in 2019. He also attended Bandung Music Camp with Damien Ventula and Sam Haywood in 2007, 2008 and 2009; SAYOWE (South Asian Youth Orchestra and Wind Ensemble) in Thailand in 2010; ASEAN RUSSIA Youth Orchestra in Bali in 2011.

Since he started his career as a cellist, he had experienced joining some of orchestra groups like Nusantara Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Hikotaro Yazaki (2008-2011), Anime Strings Orchestra, Sa'Unine Strings Orchestra, Twillite Orchestra and concert tour in Berlin dan Bratislava in 2012. He had also performed in Filmorchester Babelsberg Berlin in Jakarta and Bandung (Silent Movie Concert Fritzlang "Metropolis") in September 2015, and Grand Concert Tour in 2018 dan 2019 with Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra.

Besides playing in the orchestra, Dani also had experienced playing chamber music in some of chamber recitals. He had performed cello and piano duet with some of established pianists like Airin Efferin (2013), Nesca Alma (2014), Harimada Kusuma (2016), Hazim Suhadi (2018) and Iswargia R. Sudarno (2020). He had also joined some of Piano Trio groups with Danny Robertus dan Tommy Prabowo (2018), then Ahmad Ramadan dan Jonathan Kuo (2018), and lastly with Ahmad Ramadan dan Iswargia R. Sudarno (2020). He also performed Strings Queartet with Danny Robertus, Ahmad Ramadan dan Dwi Ari Ramlan (2019-2020).

Dani had also performed double solo of cello and violin (Danny Robertus) with Jakarta City Philharmonic (2019).

CELLO CONCERTO NO. 1 IN A MINOR, OP. 33

Camille Saint-Saëns
1835 | October 9 – 1921 | December 16
Duration approximately 19 minutes

The first cello concerto of Saint-Saëns is one of his most popular pieces that was written in 1872, when he was at the age of thirty-seven. He was still a controversial name in conservative French musical circles, known as a modernist young radical and “prophet of Wagner.”

The Cello Concerto in A minor is rich in melodies that show off both the dramatic and the lyrical aspects of the cello. It has an interesting form compare to the standard of concerto form in common. The cello enters immediately in the beginning of the movement which is giving an unusual touch to this concerto. In more radical change, the movement simply slows to a halt during the development section. The second movement is marked Allegretto con moto and in three-four time. It resembles a minuet enough that it might as well be one, and it has a music-box charm that contrasts markedly with the energetic Allegro. A cadenza is interpolated near the end of the second movement, and then the finale proceeds with reminiscences of material from the beginning, along with entirely new material that keeps this concerto surprising through to its final measures.


ST. PAUL, OP. 36

Felix Mendelssohn
1809 | February 3 – 1847 | November 4
Duration approximately 23 minutes

Mendelssohn was born to Jewish parents and was the grandson of Moses Mendelssohn, a renowned Jewish philosopher who has been called “the Father of the Jewish Enlightenment.” Because of societal pressures, Mendelssohn’s parents thought it best that their children convert to Christianity and at age seven Felix was baptized into the Lutheran faith. Through the Lutheran church, he became familiar with the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. For his public performance in 1829, when he was still in his twenty, he conducted St. Matthew Passion.

Mendelssohn began work on St. Paul Oratorio in March 1834 with the help from his childhood friend, Pastor Julius Schubring, as the libretto. It was believed Mendelssohn chose the life of St Paul as a subject for his first oratorio because the members of his own family were converted Jews, like the apostle himself.

St. Paul Oratorio consists of three dramatic sections. First is the martyrdom of St. Stephen. The crowd is sung by the bass section, which accuses Stephen of blasphemy. The chorus shouts “take him away” and Stephen is stoned to death. The tenor soloist recounts this powerful story, which is followed by a beautiful choral affirmation of faith. Saul’s persecution of the Christians is reflected in a fiery and angry aria sung by the bass soloist.

The second section centers around Saul’s conversion. While journeying to Damascus a voice from heaven, sung by a treble chorus, says “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul is struck blind. The music builds to a vigorous chorus: “Rise up! Arise!” followed again by the Lutheran chorale, “Sleepers wake! A Voice is calling.” Saul prays and asks God to have mercy on him. His sight is miraculously restored and the conversion is complete. Thereafter, Saul is known by his Roman name, Paul. The third section of the oratorio tells the story of Paul’s subsequent life spreading the gospel and the creation of the church at Ephesus.

Among all the 45 pieces in this oratorio, JOS and JSO will be presenting 6 pieces from scene one up to scene 3; Herr! Der du bist Gott (Lord, thou alone art God), Dieser Mensch hört nicht auf (Now this man ceaseth not), Siehe! wir preisen selig (Happy and blest are they), Mache dich auf! Werde Licht! (Arise! Let there be light!), Wachet auf! Ruft uns die Stimme (Awake, calls the voice to us), and lastly but not least, Wie lieblich sind die Boten (How lovely are the messengers).

ST. MATTHEW PASSION, BWV 244

Johann Sebastian Bach
1685 | March 31 – 1750 | July 28
Duration approximately 15 minutes

St. Matthew Passion is an oratorio that tells the story of the suffering and Crucifixion of Christ based on the Gospel of Matthew from the Christian Bible. The music was composed by Johan Sebastian Bach, and had premier performance on April 11, 1727 — Good Friday, in Leipzig’s St. Thomas Church. The lyrics were compiled by a poet, Christian Friedrich Henrici, who wrote under the name of Picander.

Bach was a stauch Lutheran, who would not refer the apostle as a saint. According to this fact, the original title of this oratorio is actually Passio Domini Nostri J. C. Secundum Evangelistam Matthaum, which means “The Passion Of our Lord Jesus Christ According to the Gospel of Matthew”. The word ‘passion’ here does not refer to ‘love’ in this instance, but comes from passio – a participle of the Latin verb ‘to suffer’.

When Bach composed his St. Matthew Passion in 1720s, the Passion, as a musical form, had grown to allow orchestra, choirs, and non-scriptural choruses and arias. In other aspects, Bach was also influenced by the Pietism movement in the Lutheran Church that emphasized personal faith that led this work to be very passionate and heartfelt; the solo arias are especially personal in their reflections on the events that are portrayed.

The St. Matthew Passion is divided into two parts. The first part concerns Jesus Christ’s betrayal, the Last Supper, and His prayers and arrest in Getsemane. The second part presents the rest of the biblical story, including the Crucifixion, death, and burial of Christ.

Picander distinguished between two groups of people in his lyrics that later on he often puts these two groups in dialogue with one another. These two groups are the ‘Daughters of Zion’ (Jerusalem) and the faithful souls. Bach reinforces this dialogue effect by having two separate ensembles of singers and instrumentalists. The first choir is part of the story and provides the most important emotional reactions, while the second choir asks questions, provides commentary and draws conclusions. However, he also uses both choirs together where he wants to portray the furious crowd to maximum effect.

Jakarta Oratorio Society (JOS) and Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra (JSO) will be presenting the first and last pieces from this oratorio, Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen (Come ye daughters, join my lament) and Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder (We sit down in tears).

Written by Steffanie Surya

TEXT AND TRANSLATION

Herr, der du bist der Gott


Dieser Mensch hört nicht auf

Siehe! Wir preisen selig

Mache dich auf! Werde Licht!

Wachet auf! ruft uns die Stimme

Wie lieblich sind die Boten

Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen


Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder