Morimur: Bach's Secret Epitaph

Organised by: Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay
Performed by: Brenda Koh (Baroque Violin), Choy Siew Woon (Soprano), Vivienne Tan (Alto), Americ Goh (Tenor), John Lee (Bass), Phoon Yu (Transcriber)
  • Date:
    1 - 2 Apr 2021
  • Time:
  • Duration:
  • Venue:
    Esplanade Concert Hall
    Esplanade Concert HallEsplanade Concert Hall
  • Admission:
  • Advisory:
    Seating capacity is capped at 250 persons, please book your e-tickets early. If you’ve registered for the performance and unable to join us, please forward the e-ticket to someone else to avoid wastage. Limited single seats are available at the door.


Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita no.2 in D minor for solo violin is considered one of the greatest pieces of Western music ever written; with the Ciaconna—the epic final movement—being its crowning glory. Composed in the year of the sudden death of Bach's first wife Maria Barbara, it was believed by some scholars that the work was a musical epitaph dedicated to her; an expression of his profound grief. In the Ciaconna, the violin appears to quote the melodies of various chorales with lyrics that speak of death and sorrow, and ultimately entrusting oneself to the Creator in spite of all suffering.

Released in 2001, Morimur, an album project realised by The Hilliard Ensemble and Christoph Poppen, explores these coded references by interweaving the encrypted chorales with Bach's harmonically complex violin Partita. The chorales are at first sung by themselves but voice and violin converge in the finale as the echoes of chorale text swell and fade alongside the violin.

Leading the listener through a journey of grieving, intercession and hopeful acceptance, the contrast of voice and violin allows us to experience the compositions anew; as a heartfelt memorial, and an expression of faith in the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting. With an ensemble of an all-Singaporean vocal quartet and baroque violinist, come and experience the melancholic and majestic recreation of Morimur: Bach's Secret Epitaph.

Morimur: Bach's Secret Epitaph