Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216
Symphony No. 9 in D minor
About the event
The concert will juxtapose the masterpieces of the nineteen-year-old Mozart and the seventy-two-year-old Bruckner: the one-time child prodigy achieving his first great success with his violin concertos, and the elderly master looking back upon his life with nostalgia. Julia Fischer, the German soloist for Mozart’s most popular violin concerto, is not only a violinist: she is also a pianist, a quartet player, a teacher and the founder of a youth orchestra. James Leonard had this to say about her: “Fischer has a pure tone, an impeccable intonation, and an immaculate technique, but she also has a warm heart and a radiant soul, and her performances of Mozart’s concertos are as clear and luminous as the music.” The second half of the concert will feature Bruckner’s last symphony in its unfinished, three-movement version.
For a long time, it was thought that Mozart had composed all five of his violin concertos in 1775. Today it seems certain that the first two were written a few years earlier, which explains why No. 3 is so much more mature and refined than the ones preceding it. The work, intimate in tone, includes several operatic elements — the first movement, for instance, opens with a melody Mozart borrowed from an aria of an opera of his own completed not much earlier, entitled The Shepherd King (Il rè pastore). The orchestra is to interrupt the soloist several times, thereby shaping the atmosphere of the piece. This is the only movement in Mozart’s violin concertos where another instrument is given the opportunity to play an important solo; in fact, the oboes play a key role in the last bars of the finale. The middle movement offers serenade music, colored by tragic episodes; while the finale is a rondo, one episode of which quotes a popular Strasbourg Dance.
In Bruckner’s case, it is no cliché to say that his Symphony No. 9 represents his farewell to life. The composer knew that the piece he had spent years working on would likely remain unfinished. Although several notes left behind by Bruckner suggest that he was hoping to crown the piece with a monumental finale — going so far as to, at one point, propose his own Te Deum to round out the work — it is a highly moving and uplifting experience to hear the performance conclude with a heartbreakingly beautifully Adagio. With a proud, but soft fermata, the movement, which alludes to some of Bruckner’s earlier symphonies, concludes the composer’s oeuvre brought to a close by his death in 1896. The work is one of the most important links between the 19th and 20th centuries. The daring harmonic turns of the whispered introduction to the first movement, as well as the dissonant sections of the demonic scherzo, along with their large interval jumps and crisp rhythms, point beyond Wagner and are forerunners of the musical world of Stravinsky, Bartók and the Second Viennese School.
Did you know? Mozart composed his violin concerto in 1775, Bruckner’s symphony premiered in Vienna on February 11, 1903 (conductor: Ferdinand Löwe); the Festival Orchestra last played the violin concerto in Pécs on December 18, 2013 (soloist and conductor: Leonidas Kavakos, and the symphony in Taipei on March 15, 2014 (conductor: Iván Fischer).
Contemporary events the firing in Lexington in 1775 kicked off the American War of Independence / the second version of Demoffonte, the opera of Czech composer Josef Mysliveček premiered in Naples on January 20, 1775 / 1775 saw the end of the second, three-year-long voyage of British explorer James Cook, during which he proved that the unknown “Terra Australis” was only a myth / the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), and organization fighting for women’s voting rights, was founded in Manchester on October 10, 1903 / Swedish painter, writer and playwright August Strindberg painted The Town in 1903 / The Call of the Wild, a novel by American writer Jack London, was published in 1903