Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C major (“Jupiter”), K. 551;
Requiem, K. 626
After works by Beethoven, Bruch, Brahms, Haydn, Handel and Dvořák, the Budapest Festival Orchestra will say goodbye to Hollywood in this season with Mozart’s two monumental compositions and four outsanding soloists.
Although the pieces in today’s concert are linked by the transcendent world, one is elevated to sublime heights while the other descends to dark depths – the former by depicting divine glory and the latter by expressing a grievous farewell. Two late Mozart compositions (if “late style” makes any sense in the case of a composer who died at the age of 36), several unresolved mysteries and two „half-times” of heavenly music…
The occasion for which Mozart wrote his last symphony is unknown. We do not even know whether it was performed during the composer’s lifetime, let alone who invented the nickname “Jupiter” and when it was first used. Nevertheless, the moniker perfectly fits the composition, since the symphony radiates a sense of royal grandeur. Its bright C-major key and masterful structure are indeed Jovian. Besides the opening movement, which reminds one of opera, the finalealso deserves special attention, thanks to its unique combination of “galant” features and the Baroque style culminating in the fugue built on the opening subject of the movement.
Mozart’s Requiem, left unfinished at the time of his death, is surrounded by numerous legends. The truth is prosaic, but the music left to us is exceptionally lyrical, including some of the most beautiful passages by Mozart. On 3 December 1791, the composer invited his friends to his home to rehearse the vocal parts and died two days later. The unfinished score was first completed by his pupil Franz Xaver Süssmayr, even though later on several others sought to deliver the missing parts of the funeral mass. This time, the work will be performed by Jeanine De Bique from Trinidad and Tobago, who possesses “genuine star quality”, the American Kelley O’Connor “with her movie-star good looks and shimmering voice,” Michael Schade from Canada, who has sung under the baton of Harnoncourt, and Adam Plachetka, who recorded the Requiem on DVD in 2017.