Classical Vienna

Our 43rd Season begins with two of Vienna’s most celebrated composers of the Classical Era, Mozart and Haydn. 

From Mozart’s “Le nozze di Figaro, Overture” to Haydn’s “Symphony 104”, the SSO transports you to Vienna, the city of music, for an enchanting evening of classical delights. 

Emerson Berglund, winner from our 2016.17 Young Performer’s Competition, will be performing Mozart’s “Horn Concerto 4, 1st movement”, on French Horn.

Le nozze di Figaro Overture — Mozart

Composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Mozart, the Marriage of Figaro is an opera buffa, or comic opera. Premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna on May 1, 1786, this opera continues to be among the most performed operas each year. Mozart himself conducted the premiere while playing the keyboard. This opera was the first collaboration between composer Mozart and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, the others being Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutte. Joseph Haydn loved this opera, and, if not for the death of this patron Nikolaus Esterhazy, would have performed it with his own company at Esterhaza. A continuation of the Barber of Seville, this opera takes place several years later, recounting a single day in the palace of Count Almaviva near Seville, Spain. Figaro, the head of the servant-staff, is planning on marrying Susanna, the Countess’ maid, but they must try to prevent the Count from carrying out his right to bed a servant girl on her wedding night. Once his scheme is exposed, the Count then tries to make Figaro marry someone else: a woman old enough to be his mother, who actually turns out to be his mother. The opera ends in celebration, with everyone forgiven and happy. The overture, a musical introduction to the opera, is a well-known concert piece. With a presto tempo marking, this short and fast-paced piece sets the scene for the crazy day to come, beginning quietly, but quickly exploding into a fanfare. Interestingly, this music never re-appears in the opera itself, as the overture is an orchestral preview to the comic follies that are contained within the plot.

Horn Concerto NO. 4, 1st movement — Mozart

Also completed in 1786, this horn concerto in E-flat major is Kochel number 495. Unlike other composers, Mozart’s works are identified by a Kochel (K) number, representing the chronological order in which they were written as compiled by Ludwig von Kochel in 1863. Written five years before his death at the age of 30, Mozart was living an extravagant lifestyle in Vienna in the middle of his most financially successful years. The horn concerto is in the typical three movement form of a concerto – consisting of an opening allegro moderato that you will hear today, followed by a romance, and finished with a rondo. It was written for Mozart’s friend, Joseph Leutgeb, a well-known horn player of the time. As the valved horn was not yet invented, this concerto was written for a natural horn, the ancestor of the French horn. Pitch changes would have been made by either modulating the lip tension as done with modern brass instruments to allow for notes in a harmonic series to be played, by changing the length of the instrument by switching the crooks to allow it to be played in different keys, or by changing the position of the hand in the bell of the horn, called hand-stopping. The original manuscript of the concerto was written in four different inks, red, green, blue and black. Often thought to be a joke played by Mozart on his friend to try to make the piece harder to play, more recent research indicates that it may be some sort of colour code that makes musical suggestions on how to interpret the piece.

Symphony No 35 — Mozart

Written in 1782, this symphony, originally a serenade meant to be background music, was commissioned by the Haffners for the occasion of the ennoblement of Sigmund Haffner the Younger. As such, it is often referred to as the Haffner Symphony. This piece was actually the second piece written for the family, as Mozart composed the Haffner Serenade in 1776 for a wedding. After the ennoblement, Mozart re-worked the serenade into a symphony, making several substantial changes including removing the introductory march, and adding flutes and clarinets to the first and last movements. This work was first performed as a symphony in Vienna on March 23, 1783. Written in D-major, this symphony shares a key signature with more Mozart symphonies than any other.

The first movement, an allegro con spirito, is in sonata form and, according to Mozart himself, should be played with fire. It is very common in the Classical period to start the first movement of a work with sonata form, which consists of three main sections – an exposition, a development section, and a recapitulation. The exposition presents the primary musical theme to the audience; the development section then takes this theme and explores its harmonic and textural possibilities; finally, the recapitulation brings the theme back to the original key signature. The second movement Andante is a slower, graceful movement with chorale-like passages presented by the woodwinds. Following this movement is the Menuetto and Trio, a brighter, less-serious movement. Interestingly, the entire menuetto is marked loud or forte, whereas the trio is marked quiet, or piano throughout. Finally, the symphony finishes with a presto fourth movement. Back to the fire of the first movement, Mozart noted that this movement should be played “as fast as possible.” Beginning quietly but quickly, there is then a long silence, followed by the entire orchestra coming in loudly in measure 9. These silences repeat throughout the movement, in addition to some very rapid dynamic shifts, keeping the audience on their toes.

Symphony No 104 — Haydn

This was the last of twelve symphonies written by Joseph Haydn during his time in London. Haydn composed the work in 1795, and it was premiered at the King’s Theatre on May 4, 1795. Haydn was born in Rohrau, Austria at the end of March in 1732. He spent his youth as a chorister in St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna but was eventually let go in 1749 once his voice changed. After struggling as a freelance musician, he began to build a reputation as a composer of note. In 1761, he became vice-Kapellmeister (director of music) to the wealthy Esterhazy family, later becoming Kapellmeister in 1766, a position he would hold until 1790. Following the death of Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy, Haydn was given permission to travel, and he accepted a lucrative offer from Johann Salomon to visit England and compose new symphonies with a larger orchestra than what he had at Esterhaza. After two successful trips to England, Haydn returned to Vienna in 1795 and stayed there until his death in 1809. Mozart’s Requiem was performed at his memorial service. Haydn made huge contributions to the musical form of the quartet and symphony and is often called the “Father of the Symphony”. He was also a friend of (and string quartet member with) Mozart, and teacher of Beethoven.

Beginning with a grand introduction, the first movement of the symphony is in standard sonata form, and only has one main theme. The second movement’s main theme is introduced by the strings, and then repeated by strings and bassoon before modulating to other keys, slowly giving more prominence to the flute. A minuet and trio follows as the traditional third movement, with the trio featuring the bassoon and oboe. Finally, the fourth and final movement is fast-moving, and features a drone bass line in a theme that may have Croatian folk song roots.


Hornist Emerson Berglund is very excited to be back in Sudbury playing with the SSO. Born in 1995 in Sault Ste. Marie, the 23-year-old has been playing in groups all across Ontario, all the way from Windsor to Timmins. Mr. Berglund studied music at Cambrian College in Sudbury under the direction of Geoffrey Tiller, and more recently has began studying at Wilfrid Laurier University under the direction of Nina Brickman and Derek Conrad. While living in Waterloo, he has won the principal horn audition for the Vera Causa Opera, and is a regular sub in the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra. Most recently he won a spot to play with The Band of The Ceremonial Guard located in Ottawa.
Mr. Berglund is the winner of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra’s 2017 Young Performers’ Competition.