Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 20 in C major, Hob. I:20
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat major (“Jeunehomme”), K. 271;
Symphony No. 36 in C major (“Linz”), K. 425
“Whenever I play Haydn or Mozart with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, I feel like I become younger,” says Gábor Takács-Nagy, who this year continues interpreting the limitless symphonic creations of the two masters, this time featuring the expert piano solo of Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.
The conductor for the evening considers the music of Haydn and Mozart medicine for the soul, which he says cured his elderly mother of a serious illness several years ago. He says that no matter how blue he may feel, these two composers have the ability to brighten his mood and even raise his spirits. “There is an incredible amount of positive energy and vitality in both of them,” says Takács-Nagy, who has been drawn to the two composers since his childhood. It is this joy of life that the two symphonies on the programme, both composed in bright C major, will exude, along with Mozart’s piano concerto.
Haydn sneaked a touch of mischief into the majority of his symphonies. In the case of his Symphony in C major, this is a trick of form: both sections of the two-part finale are types of miniature sonata. Of course, this is a special joy only the most trained ears will detect and appreciate; the composer did this mostly to entertain himself.
Mozart also included a touch of novelty in his Piano Concerto in E-flat major, which is referred to as Victoire Jenamy (erroneously Jeunehomme) after a woman by that name. Early in the overture, the piano descends impatiently upon the orchestra, while in the other two movements, the composer makes us feel like we are listening to an opera. The soloist for the evening will be the French Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, the last musician to be discovered by Georg Solti and a protégé of György Cziffra. He is a return guest of the BFO.
“Because I do not have a single symphony with me, I shall write a new one in a hurry,” Mozart told his father when, recently married and travelling with his wife from Salzburg to Vienna, he spent a night and gave a concert in Linz. This is how the symphony “Linz” came to be, which, despite the rush, turned out to be a colourful, entertaining and smart piece.