Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 88 in G major, Hob. I:88
Georg Friedrich 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 Haydn symphony opening the concert is closely linked to classical traditions, just like all the pieces of the composer in this genre. However, he always manages to surprise us with a joke, an unusual solution or a conspicuous detail like, in Symphony No. 88, the staccato in the slow introduction, the variations of the slow movement, the imitation of bagpipes in the rustic dance 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 an alibi when operas happened to be less popular, writing equally dramatic and sensitive pieces. The solemn aria of the Angel, whose effect is enhanced by brass instruments will be followed by two excerpts from operas by Handel: First, the rhapsodic, wistful song of Rodelinda and then Cleopatra’s passionate aria. The technically demanding, virtuoso arias will be sung by Jeanine De Bique, who was praised in the Washington Post for her “dramatic presence and versatility”.
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.