Mostly Mozart

SATURDAY, MARCH 28 ∙ 7:30 PM
FRASER AUDITORIUM

The new year brings forth iconic and well known symphonies to the second half of our season.

March features the music of Mozart, beginning with overture to The Impressario and ending with his most powerful symphonic creation, Symphony no 41. Also featured is Mozart’s nemesis Salieri with his popular 26 variations on La Folia.

Principal Cellist Dobrochna Zubek makes her guest artist debut with the SSO performing Canadian Chan Ka Nin’s Soulmate, a graceful and moving melody describing love through music.

Program

W. A. Mozart ………. Overture to The Impressario, K. 486

Chan Ka Nin (CAN) ………. Soulmate
Featuring Dobrochna Zubek, Solo Cello and Strings

A. Salieri ………. 26 Variations on “La folia di Spagna”

INTERMISSION

W. A. Mozart ………. Symphony 41 in C Major, K. 551 “Jupiter”

i. Allegro vivace
ii. Andante cantabile
iii. Menuetto: Allegretto
iv. Molto allegro

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Overture to The Impresario, K. 486

In the 1984 Academy Award-winning film, Amadeus, the composer Antonio Salieri was portrayed as a tortured, scheming mediocrity in contrast to Mozart’s at times boorish genius. Although the movie exaggerated the enmity between the two, there was indeed a rivalry. Salieri was the court composer at Emperor Joseph II’s court when Mozart burst onto the Vienna music scene. The Emperor proposed a competition where each would compose one-act comic opera about intrigues at the opera. Both pieces – Mozart’s in German style, Salieri’s in Italian – were presented at the Emperor’s palace in Vienna on a February evening in 1786. Mozart’s The Impresario was about a theatre director’s struggles to pay the bills and recruit actors. Salieri, on the other hand, brilliantly skewered Mozart’s favourite librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte, gaining the most enthusiastic applause. Still, Mozart was undaunted, letting it slip afterward that Salieri would never rival him as a composer. Mozart’s Overture has since become a staple of the orchestral repertoire.

Chan Ka Nin (1949- ) — Soulmate

Soulmate is an arrangement for cello and strings of the second movement of Chan’s Poetry on Ice, a two-movement piece for figure skating that premiered at the Guelph Spring Festival in 1995. In 2000, Chan arranged the piece at the request of cellist Shauna Rolston, who has since featured it in her concerts. Chan has commented that the arrangement gave a new dimension to the music. Rather than an intimate monologue, it is a dialogue between the passionate soloist and the sympathetic strings.

Antonio Salieri (1750-1825) — 26 Variations on La Folia di Spagna

Composed in 1815, this theme and variations for orchestra is regarded as one of Salieri’s finest compositions. A variety of instruments are showcased in an imaginative setting of the ancient Spanish tune, “La Folia.” By this point, Salieri had retired from the operatic stage after a 30-year career to become a distinguished teacher. Schubert and Beethoven were among his pupils, as well as leading singers for vocal technique. Salieri was by no means the only composer to have been drawn to “La Folia.” Altogether, the tune figures in the works of over 150 composers over the past 400 years, including Three Worlds, a 2017 album by British composer Max Richter.

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

i. Allegro vivace
ii. Andante cantabile
iii. Menuetto: Allegretto
iv. Molto allegro

During his short life, Mozart composed 41 symphonies. The last three were written in the summer of 1788. They were composed without a commission and Mozart did not live to hear them performed. Their moods are in striking contrast – the 39th is serene, the 40th tragic, and the 41st is triumphant. Probably the 40th was closest to Mozart’s state of mind at the time, as he was struggling with financial worries, exhaustion, and the seemingly endless hunt for commissions. None of this seemed to affect his art, however, and the 41st Symphony is by any standard a surpassing work. Scored for flute, oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets and drums, and strings, the Symphony opens with an immediate and striking call to attention that is answered by a gentler response from the strings; both elements turn out to be of great importance as the movement unfolds. The second movement is a stately saraband in the French style, while the third pays homage to the Ländler, an Austrian folk dance. The fourth movement especially has garnered an enormous amount of analysis and commentary for its compositional technique, a synthesis of sonata form and fugue where the five voices overlap canonically at the conclusion. Mozart studied the symphonic models of Joseph and Michael Haydn in creating this astonishing achievement.