About the program
Two symphonies will top-and-tail tonight’s concert, which opens with one of Mozart’s early compositions and ends with a 1788 work by Haydn – widely known as the father of the genre.
As a child prodigy in Salzburg, Mozart composed a number of symphonies in the Italian ‘sinfonia’ style (Mozart himself referred to them as such). That is to say, these pieces consist of multiple-movements similar in form to a baroque opera overture, the first great master of which was Alessandro Scarlatti. Mozart finished this symphony on May 5 1774.
According to Mozart’s own catalogue of works, he completed his Piano concerto in C major onDecember 4, 1786. Written at the same time as the ‘Prague’ symphony, this is the last of the acclaimed virtuoso composer’s twelve concertos, written in Vienna between 1784 and 1786 for his own ‘academies’. The Concerto in C major is an outstanding piece of work, although it took some time for its popularity to reach the level of the genre’s other showpieces.
During 1791, the last year of Mozart’s short life, he was hugely prolific. His last opera, La clemenza di Tito, was written for the coronation of Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold II, and premiered during the celebrations in Prague on September 6 1791. True, The Magic Flute premiered later, but most of it had already been composed by the time Mozart received his commission for La clemenza. This opera seria was rediscovered in the second half of the 20th century by opera houses and record companies. Today it enjoys a secure place within the operatic canon, and its overture remains a popular addition to symphonic concerts.
Haydn wrote the final piece of tonight’s concert, his Symphony No. 90 in C major, following the success of his six ‘Paris’ symphonies (Numbers 82–87). Commissioned by Count d’Ogny, it too was composed for the Masonic Loge Olympique in Paris together with two other symphonies (Nos. 91 and 92).
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 30 in D major, K. 202
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: La clemenza di Tito, K. 621 – overture
Joseph Haydn: Symphony in C major, Hob. I:90
Péter Frankl, piano