On tonight's show:
Yumi and Dougie
Yumi and Dougie
Charley talks with principal guest conductor Douglas Boyd and concertmaster Yumi Hwang Williams about their Colorado Symphony concerts this weekend, plus the result of one Yumi's numerous visits to the KVOD Performance Studio.
Felix Mendelssohn: "Allegro vivace" (1st movement) from Sonata in F Major (1838)
Yumi Hwang-Williams, violin
Dror Biran, piano
KVOD Performance Studio: recorded 11/9/09 by Martin Skavish
From this season's Masterworks series, pianist Benedetto Lupo joins guest conductor Bernard Labadie and the Colorado Symphony in an all-Mozart program.
Wolfgang Mozart: "Chaconne" from Idomeneo, K.367
Wolfgang Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 18 in B flat major, K.456
Bernard Labadie, conductor
Benedetto Lupo, piano
Click here for program notes
Program Notes by Charley Samson, copyright 2010
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): Chaconne from Idomeneo Ballet, K.367
Towards the end of 1780 Mozart received a commission to compose a serious Italian opera for the Munich Carnival. He selected a libretto by the Salzburg court chaplain Giambattista Varesco titled Idomeneo, King of Crete, basically the Biblical tale of Jephtha transferred to ancient Greece. The music was begun in October, 1780 in Salzburg. Then in early November, Mozart left for Munich to consult with the singers.
The first rehearsal went well. ``I cannot tell you how amazed and delighted everyone was,'' Mozart wrote home. ``But I did not expect anything else, and I assure you I went to this rehearsal with as easy a mind as if I were going to a dinner-party.''
At the dress rehearsal, the Elector of Bavaria wondered that ``such great things were tucked away in so small a head....I was quite surprised; music has never had such an effect on me before.'' The first performance of Idomeneo took place in the Elector's new opera house on January 29, 1781, just two days after Mozart's twenty-fifth birthday. No accounts of the event have survived, but if it was anything like the rehearsals, it must have been a success. The ballet music to Idomeneo was inserted somewhere in or after the opera, just exactly where is uncertain. Also uncertain is the action of the ballet, which may or may not have related to the action of the opera at all. The choreographer (Jean-Pierre Le Grand), is named, as are the principal dancers (Hartig, Antoine, Falgera).
On December 30, 1780, Mozart wrote to his father that ``as there is no extra ballet, but merely an appropriate divertissement in the opera, I have the honor of composing the music for that as well. I am glad of this, however, for now all the music will be by the same composer.'' The usual custom was to have the ballet composed by a different composer than the opera. By January 18, 1781, Mozart reported: ``Till now I've been kept busy with those cursed dances--Laus Deo--I have survived it all.''
The ballet music consists of five movements. The theme of the opening “Chaconne” was lifted almost note for note from the Chaconne in Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide.
The score calls for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani and strings.
Wolfgang Mozart (1756-1791): Piano Concerto No. 18 in B flat major, K.456
I. Allegro vivace
II. Andante in G minor
III. Allegro vivace
Nine days after the birth of his second son, Karl Thomas, Mozart completed K.456 on September 30, 1784. The Concerto was probably written for Maria Theresa von Paradis, an excellent pianist, singer and composer. She was the daughter of the State Councilor of Lower Austria and a godchild of the Empress Maria Theresa, who gave the pianist a yearly allowance of 200 florins.
Paradis had been blind from birth and was a pupil of the composer Leopold Kozeluch. According to one account, she could play "more than sixty keyboard concertos with the greatest accuracy and the finest expression, in every way worthy of her teacher." At the time, she needed the concerto from Mozart for an upcoming tour to Paris. Haydn's Piano Concerto in G major was written for her.
Mozart himself played K.456 in February, 1785. His father, who was visiting Vienna at the time, gave an account of the concert in a letter to his daughter in Salzburg: "Your brother played a glorious concerto, which he composed for Mlle. Paradis for Paris. I was sitting only two boxes away from the very beautiful Princess of Würtemberg and had the great pleasure of hearing so clearly all the interplay of the instruments that for sheer delight tears came into my eyes. When your brother left the platform the Emperor waved his hat and called out 'Bravo, Mozart!' And when he came on to play, there was a grat deal of clapping."
Alfred Einstein says the Concerto "is very French. The work is full of miracles of sonority, but it contains none of the 'surprises,' great or small, of the great concertos."
The score calls for solo piano, flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, and strings.