MOZART BY CANDLELIGHT

7:29 PM, Saturday, January 12, 2019
Belhaven University - Center for the Arts

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The enchantment of the master’s music in the glow of hundreds of candles works its annual magic, this time with two chamber works performed by violinist Stephen Redfield.  For the big finish, the composer’s final and most famous symphonic masterpiece, Jupiter, brings the evening to a spectacular close. 

This concert will also be performed in Brookhaven on January 11 and in Vicksburg on January 13.  Click here for details. 

Sponsors

Concert generously sponsored by

MR. & MRS. EMERSON B. ROBINSON, JR. 

and 

  

Overture from Apollo et Hyacinthus, K. 38

     Divertimento in F Major, K. 138

Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major, K. 218

     Adagio in E Major, K. 261

Symphony No. 41, in C Major, K. 551, “Jupiter” 

Overture from Apollo et Hyacinth, K. 38

Tonight we have a chance to hear the entire span of Mozart’s development as a composer within one concert, beginning with his first opera and ending with his last symphony. What a musical journey it is!It is astounding to realize that Mozart composed his first opera at age eleven. The circumstances are these…... Established in 1617, the grammar school attached to Salzburg’s Benedictine University had a long-standing tradition of performing a Latin play every year. The practice was to insert a musical intermedio between the acts. Father Rufinius Widl, a professor, wrote a five-act tragedy, The Clemency of Croesus, and the young prodigy was commissioned to write the musical work. The original story from Herodotus is about King Croesus’s son’s accidental death in a hunting accident, but Widl adapts it to the Greek myth of Apollo and Hyacinth. The best music of the opera is in its arias and duets, but this overture has its moments, too, all the more remarkable for the youth of its prodigious composer.

Divertimento in F Major, K. 138

And now the fifteen-year-old Mozart, briefly home between two successful tours in Italy with his father, composed three works for strings each with the title “Divertimento.” Calling for double basses rather than cellos, they were probably meant for a small string orchestra rather than string quartet.

Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major, K. 218

When we think of Mozart the performer, it’s usually Mozart the pianist. But the violin figured prominently in his early education, and no surprise—his father Leopold was a highly respected violin teacher and well-known author of the Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing. A family friend tells of a string trio rehearsal at the Mozart home whenhe was only six years old:

“Little Wolfgang asked to be allowed to play second violin. As he hadn’t had any lessons yet, your Papa reproved him for his silly begging, thinking he would be unable to make anything of it. Wolfgang said, ‘You don’t need to have taken lessons to play second violin.’ When your Papa insisted that he go away at once and not bother us, he began to cry, and went off in a sulk with his little fiddle. I asked that he be allowed to play alongside me. At last your Papa said, ‘Play along with Herr Schachtner then, but so softly you can’t be heard, or you’ll have to go.’ Soon, I noticed to my amazement that I was superfluous. Quietly, I laid my violin aside and watched your Papa, who had tears of wonder and pleasure running down his cheeks. Little Wolfgang played through all six trios. He was so elated by our applause that he said he could play the first violin part. We let him do it for a joke, and almost died of laughter. His fingering was incorrect and improvised, but he never got stuck.”

In 1775, Mozart was nineteen and still living at home in Salzburg. Between April and December, he composed four violin concertos. Leopold always encouraged Wolfgang’s violin playing. Two years after the premiere of this concerto, Leopold wrote to Wolfgang: “You yourself do not know how well you play the violin—if you would only do yourself justice and play with energy and your whole heart and soul, yes, indeed, just as though you were the first violinist in all of Europe.”

The mock-military opening of the first movement, graced with a touch of the gallant, sets off a dialogue between “two worlds--the swaggering and the yielding”, as one writer put it. The second movement shows Mozart’s sheer wealth of invention with affecting moments of lyricism in the violin, balanced by pulsing accompaniment in the winds. The soloist weaves in and out of the texture the entire movement. The finale is full of delightful surprises, sudden turns of direction, and meter changes. The “refrain” of the rondo is in two parts, an opening andante in 2/4 answered by an energetic jig in 6/8. Along the way, various contrasting melodies appear, including a rustic bagpipe-like theme complete with drone. The last movement ends gracefully and quietly.

Adagio in E Major, K. 261

The Adagio for Violin and Orchestra, K. 261, was composed in 1776, after violinist Antonio Brunetti’s complaint that the Adagio of Mozart’s Concerto No. 5 was “too studied.” Apparently, Mozart obliged him with this new slow movement, which stands on its own as a remarkably beautiful alternative.

Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551 “Jupiter

In the summer of 1788, the thirty-two-year-old Mozart composed what turned out to be his last three symphonies. They were not commissioned for any occasion, nor requested by wealthy patrons. This is odd, given the fact that by 1787, Mozart’s financial situation was becoming dire. His debt out of control, he was begging close friends for loans. The scholarly consensus today is that Mozart’s debts came from a gambling problem, not lack of income. He pawned valuable belongings and tried to get advances from publishers. The three 1788 symphonies may have been composed for planned concerts in Vienna or London. In any case, turning out three masterpieces in such a short span of time was remarkable, even for Mozart. They were not published during his lifetime, which ended at age thirty-five. The nickname “Jupiter” was attached in 1821 by Johann Peter Salomon, a London concert manager, who may have heard in the trumpet and drum fanfares the spirit of the gods of ancient Greece and Jupiter, head of the Pantheon. “The finale is a throwback to Baroque contrapuntal style”, recalling J.S. Bach. Consensus has it that this is Mozart’s greatest symphonic achievement. The late conductor Claudio Abbado called it simply “one of his greatest creations” and describes the finale’s “ideas superimposed, bursting out, one after the other, like fireworks. There is a pile-up of musical lines, a proliferation of colors. The ingenuity is almost unimaginable--limitless.” Michael Steinberg describes the closing coda as a moment when, “Mozart unfurls a dazzling glory of polyphony to cap, in one of music’s truly sublime pages, a movement that is one of the most splendid manifestations of that rich gathering-in we call the ‘Classical Style’.”

Concert Calendar

January 2019
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Upcoming Performances

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™ in Concert

Sat, Jan 19, 2019, 8:00 PM

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™ in Concert

Sun, Jan 20, 2019, 2:00 PM

Selby and Richard McRae Foundation : RUSSIAN FLAIR

Sat, Jan 26, 2019, 7:30 PM

THE TEXAS TENORS

Sat, Feb 02, 2019, 7:30 PM

Selby and Richard McRae Foundation : STRING SENSATION

Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 7:30 PM