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 the concerts are linked by the transcendent world, they emanate completely opposing atmospheres: one is elevated to sublime heights while the other descends to dark depths; the former depicting divine glory and the latter expressing a grievous farewell. Two late Mozart-compositions – if “late style” makes any sense in the case of a composer who died aged 36 –, several unresolved mysteries and two halves of heavenly music…
The occasion of Mozart’s last symphony is unknown. Neither do we know whether it was performed during the composer’s lifetime or who invented the nickname “Jupiter” and when it was first used. Nevertheless, the moniker perfectly fits the composition, as the symphony pours forth a sense of royal grandeur. Its bright C-major key and masterful structure are indeed Jovian. Besides the opening movement resembling opera music, the finale, where the composer develops the opening theme in the complex Baroque fugue form, also deserves special attention.
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 all the more lyrical, including some of the most beautiful passages by Mozart. The work ending abruptly (on 3 December 1791, the composer invited his friends to his home to rehearse the vocal parts finished and died two days later) was first completed by Franz Xaver Süssmayr. However, there have been several attempts at reconstructing the missing parts of the funeral mass. This time, the entire work will be performed by Jeanine De Bique, from Trinidad and Tobago, possessing “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 Requiem on DVD in 2017.