Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
Symphony No. 1 in E-flat major, K. 16
Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219
Carl Maria von Weber:
Andante and e Rondo Ungarese in C minor, Op. 35
String Symphony No. 9 in C major (“Swiss”)
About the event
The spring concert of the Concertino series offers complex, intricate interconnections, a piece laced with Hungarian motifs, Mozart’s first symphony and last violin concerto, a key piece of 19th century bassoon music, an exercise in style composed for a privately owned orchestra and the quality we came to expect from János Pilz – and more: a concert, where next to the 8-year-old Mozart and the teenage Mendelssohn, Weber with his 23 years appears almost ancient. The solos will be played by BFO’s section leader Andrea Bressan, as well as a winner of major international contests, Yoonshin Song from South Korea, acclaimed as “a wonderfully talented violinist... [whose] sound and technique go well beyond her years”.
During their tour to England, young Mozart, who was stuck in Chelsea due to his father’s illness, wrote his first symphony in the absence of opportunities to have it performed. In addition to the variety of impressions he gained, the piece already demonstrates an individuality of style, such as the effective juxtaposition of the violins and the entire orchestra, the bold chromatics in the finale, unusual for the period, or the four-note motif from the second movement, that makes a comeback in his later Jupiter Symphony.
Mozart’s Violin Concerto in A major was composed with the opposite intention, as a summary of everything the composer had learned about the genre. Here the solo instrument behaves like a little diva: after the orchestral introduction of the first movement, it reluctantly starts the main theme, but only following a lyrical aria. The melody consisting of triads emerges in all three movements. The exceptionally accomplished, luscious second movement is followed by a rondo with Turkish-like―though, to the Hungarian ear, also Hungarian-sounding―phrases.
Weber suggests the Hungarian character of his rondo already in the title, even though it is not really apparent except for a few rhythmic patterns. The piece is a reworking of an earlier composition written for Weber’s violist brother in 1809; the bassoon version was completed four years later. The tiptoing gentleness of the Andante’s theme is followed by playful, romantic and virtuosic bassoon playing in three variations.
12-year-old Mendelssohn had his own private orchestra, offered to him by his father to bring his symphonic style to perfection. Mendelssohn composed thirteen string symphonies over a period of two years mostly in the styles of Haydn, Mozart and Johann Christian Bach. Though with its weighty slow introduction, his String Symphony in C major is mostly reminiscent of Haydn, some of the harmonies, the contemplative first movement or the charming scherzo are definitely Mendelssohnian.
Did you know? Mozart’s symphony and violin concerto premiered in London on February 21, 1765 and in Salzburg in the winter of 1775, respectively, Weber’s Andante e Rondo Ungarese was composed in 1813 and Mendelssohn wrote his string symphony in 1823; the Festival Orchestra last played Mozart’s symphony in Budapest on April 22, 2018 (conductor: Gábor Takács-Nagy) and his violin concerto also in Budapest on January 31, 2015 (soloist: Pinchas Zukerman, conductor: Iván Fischer), they last performed Weber’s composition in Budapest on February 6, 2000 (soloist: Barna Juhász, conductor: János Kovács) and Mendelssohn’s string symphony in Budapest on November 24, 2002 (concertmaster: János Selmeczi).
Contemporary events in 1765, Francis I Holy Roman emperor, who as the husband of Maria Theresa was the co-ruler of the Habsburg hereditary dominions, died / Piramo e Tisbe, an opera by German composer Johann Adolf Hasse premiered in Vienna in 1765 / The Barber of Seville, the comedy of French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, premiered in Comédie-Française, Paris in 1775 / the Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations, where Napoleon suffered a devastating defeat, was fought from October16 to 19, 1813 / German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer wrote his philosophical treatise entitled On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason in 1813 / Austrian composer Franz Schubert completed his song cycle, Die schöne Müllerin, in 1823 / French artist Eugène Delacroix painted Orphan Girl at the Cemetery in 1823