Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 88 in G major, Hob. I:88
George Frideric Handel: “Disserratevi, o porte d’Averno” (aria from the oratorio La Resurrezione, HWV 47);
“Ritorna, o caro e dolce mio tesoro” (aria from the opera Rodelinda, regina de’ Longobardi, HWV 19);
“Da tempeste il legno infranto” (aria from the opera Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV 17)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C major (“Jupiter”), K. 551
The Budapest Festival Orchestra has a highly diverse programme in store for the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York, featuring works by Handel, Haydn and of course Mozart, along with an outstanding soloist from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.
The symphony that opens the concert is closely linked to classical traditions; indeed, it was Haydn himself who established these traditions for his successors. However, he always manages to surprise us with a joke, an unusual turn or a striking detail. In his Symphony No. 88, such memorable moments include the staccato in the slow introduction, the variations of the slow movement, the rustic imitation of bagpipes in the third movement, or the bird sounds and firework blasts in the perpetual-motion finale.
Between the two symphonies, the audience can enjoy three Handel arias. The first one is from an oratorio. In fact, the composer used this genre only as a cover when it proved difficult to mount opera performances, and he delivered equally dramatic and sensitive pieces. The solemn aria of the Angel, the effect of which is enhanced by brass instruments will be followed by two excerpts from operas: the rhapsodic, wistful song of Rodelinda and Cleopatra’s passionate aria, respectively. The technically demanding, virtuosic arias will be sung by Jeanine De Bique, who was praised in the Washington Post for her “dramatic presence and versatility.”
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.