The Mozart city of Salzburg is still home to an orchestra founded in 1841 by the composer‘s widow Constanze and two sons Xaver and Karl: the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg. British conductor Ivor Bolton – whose performances of baroque operas by Monteverdi, Handel and Gluck are always enthusiastically
received by Munich State Opera audiences – has been the Mozarteum Orchestra‘s GMD since 2004. This release presents W.A. Mozart‘s six late symphonies, performed by the Mozarteum Orchestra under Bolton as well as his predecessor Hubert Soudant. This compact Mozart package with the composer‘s core repertoire on three CDs presents a fresh and meticulously played “Mozart from Salzburg”.
Chefdirigent · Chief Conductor
Versatile, internationally acclaimed English conductor Ivor Bolton is just at home in the opera world as he is on the concert stage. His broad repertoire ranges from baroque to contemporary
masterpieces. Bolton studied at Cambridge
University, the Royal College of Music and at the National Opera Studio in London. He was the musical director of the Glyndebourne Touring Opera from 1992–1997 and principle conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra from 1994–1996. He was appointed principle conductor of the Mozarteum
Orchestra Salzburg in September 2004.
Ivor Bolton is a frequent guest at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. His productions of Monteverdi’s
L’Incoronazione di Poppea and Orfeo, Handel’s Xerxes, Giulio Cesare and Ariodante and Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice received sensational praise from both audiences and critics. In 1998 he was awarded the prestigious Bavarian Theatre Prize.
Ivor Bolton debuted at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in 1995 with the premiere of Alexander
Goehr’s Arianna. In 2000, he celebrated a major success with the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg in a production of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride at the Salzburg Festival, to which he has often returned. As a celebrated conductor of baroque, classic and modern operas, he has appeared in Bologna, Buenos Aires, Sydney, San Francisco, Paris, Florence, Lisbon, Brussels, Leipzig and Geneva. His performances of Gluck, Mozart and Britten at Glyndebourne have won great acclamation.
Bolton has also conducted such major symphony
orchestras as the London Symphony, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, BBC Symphony, the London Mozart Players, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the major American orchestras in Houston and Montreal. In 2000, he conducted Bach’s St. John Passion at a London Proms concert, repeating this work at the 2000 Munich Festival. During the 2003/04 season, Bolton conducted
concerts in the Mozarteum Orchestra’s subscription series and at the Salzburger Kultur-vereinigung, presenting compositions of the Viennese
Classic, a premiere by Wimberger as well as works by Britten and Bruckner.
With the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, he has recorded the Salzburg Festival production of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor. Furthermore he recorded Haydns Jahreszeiten and Schöpfung as well as Bruckner’s
Symphony No. 5 for OehmsClassics.
Gastdirigent · Guest Conductor
Born in Maastricht/Netherlands, Hubert Soudant is one of the leading conductors
of his generation. He began his musical
studies in his home town, concentrating mainly on French horn and orchestral conducting. He went on to gain awards in many international competitions, including Besançon (1969), the Karajan Conducting Prize in Berlin (1971) and the Cantelli Competition in Milan (1973).
He has conducted many European or-chestras of international repute in both concert
and opera performances; these include the Berlin Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Bamberg Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Oslo, Philharmonic, Stockholm Philharmonic, the Orchestra della Scala (with whom he performed
the Italian premiere of the “Turangalîla”
Symphony in the presence of its composer Oli-vier Messiæn), Orchestra dalla RAI di Turino and other leading Italian and Japanese orchestras. He is a regular guest at international
festivals, such as the Salzburg Festival,
Prague Spring Festival, Spoleto Festival, Ravenna Festival, Vienna Festival and the Bruckner Festival
His successful opera début at the Teatro Regio di Parma in 1985 brought him invitations to conduct in Paris at the Opéra de la Bastille and in all leading opera houses in Italy, including La Fenice/Venice, Bologna and Trieste.
From 1981 to 1983 Soudant was music director of the Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique of Radio France in Paris, from 1983 to 1988 chief conductor of the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra in the Netherlands and principal conductor of the Melbourne Symphony
Orchestra. In 1988 he was appointed director of the Orchestra Arturo Toscanini in Parma.
In September 1994 Hubert Soudant was appointed music director of the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire and chief conductor of the Salzburg Mozarteum
Orchestra. Since autumn 2004 he has been first guest conductor of the Mozarteum Orchestra.
His constant and successful work on the Mozart repertoire, the development of a French repertoire and the consistent fostering of works by Bruckner are particularly important areas of his work with the Mozarteum Orchestra.
Hubert Soudant, together with the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, is a frequent guest in the USA, Japan and at numerous renowned concert houses in Europe.
In 1999 he became principal guest conductor, since September 2004 he is musical director of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. Besides permanent
commitments, Hubert Soudant gives guest performances in Europe, Japan and the USA.
From one masterpiece to the next
The curve within the last half-dozen of Wolfgang
Amadé Mozart’s symphonies – excluding K. 385 due to the fact that the composer extracted it from a serenade for Siegmund Haffner and used it a number of times – proceeds progressively upwards.
Three of these symphonies are in C Major, but Mozart continually defies conventional characterizations
of said key as defined by earlier as well as contemporaneous composers and theoreticians
(Marc-Antoine Charpentier: joyous and warlike; Johann Mattheson: rough and coarse, but not unfitting to express happiness and joy; Mozart contemporary Daniel Schubart: innocent, naïve, childlike).
Dated August 30, 1780, the last work written by Mozart in Salzburg, this symphony manifests the composer’s absolute mastery of orchestral treatment.
Bold, perhaps even rebellious (against his hated employer, the Princely Archbishop Hieronymus
Duke Colloredo?), and sovereignly aware of his abilities, Mozart first combines an almost military
Overture and March – only to fade into a dramatic,
threatening F Minor turn of phrase after 12 measures and chromatically marring the festive atmosphere. Of the two very different secondary themes, the second is fugal. Mozart frequently pits smaller concertante instrumental groups against the tutti orchestra. Part of the main theme is missing in the recapitulation, only to be incorporated
in the coda. Because all but 14 measures of the Menuett (originally planned as the second movement!) were removed from the manuscript, the contrast between the songlike, F Major Andante
di molto – solely for strings, supported by bassoon, later becoming a più tosto Allegretto – is even stronger. A stylized Gigue furiously intensifies
to become a true audience rouser.
K. 425 Linz
Invited to perform in the Linz theater academie on November 4, 1783 by Duke Johann Joseph Anton Thun, Mozart had to work head over heels on a new symphony because I don’t have a single one with me – as he says in a letter to his father dated five days previously. The result: a work that is impressively balanced, painstakingly detailed and lavishly rich on ideas despite the haste with which Mozart wrote it. He first follows the model of his friend Franz Joseph Haydn – only to overtrump this immediately with the tension, dotted rhythms and accents of the first 19 measures. Minor shadings,
however, cloud the festive brilliance. Even the idyllically lilting 6/8 F-Major Adagio, which includes
trumpets and tympani as well, is not entirely spared these shadows. The mood swings in the Finale,
which succeeds the more rustic than courtly Menuetto, also convey a certain melancholy.
K. 504 Prague
Mozart completed this work in Vienna on December
6, 1786, between Le Nozze di Figaro, K. 492 and Don Giovanni, K. 527. Can its D Major be described
as joyful and very warlike or biting, obstinate,
loud, refined if necessary or even triumph, hallelujah, war calls? Nothing of the kind. In consideration
of an academy to be held January 17th the following year in Prague (where both operas were triumphantly received), Mozart takes the original three-movement form of the Italian Sinfonia
normally preceding an opera and raises it to grandiose dimensions.
We find both reminiscence as well as anticipation
here. The introduction to the contrapuntally
dense, monothematic first movement takes pleasure in dramatically dynamic changes that summon to mind the Komtur’s aura. The secondary
theme of the cantabile G Major Andante plays with motives from Zerlina’s duet Andiam, andiam, mio bene in Don Giovanni. Hermann Kretschmar once noted that the strength, sincerity and power of the agitated emotions … do not allow any dance here, and Alfred Einstein’s opinion is that everything that needs to be said is said in these three movements. Mozart must also have left out a Menuett because the opening theme of the impetuous
Finale resembles the duet Aprite presto, aprite from the second act of Figaro.
The sequence of keys in the last three symphonies,
dated June 26, July 25 and August 10 in Mozart’s own handwritten Verzeichnüß aller meiner Werke, was influenced by that of the original
series of Joseph Haydn’s Paris Symphonies, which he composed for the Olympique Freemason
Lodge in that city.
Alfred Einstein hesitated somewhat to ascribe secret,
Masonic undertones to The Magic Flute, but E-flat Major is also the key of this work. Gerhard Croll additionally pinpoints Michael Haydn’s Symphony
P. 17 as a possible model for Mozart’s work. Haydn completed his symphony in summer 1783 and Mozart must have seen it in Salzburg. But what he did with it! Croll: Mozart exceeded it and radiated it back transfigured… Both are amazing and splendid: the… inspiring power of Haydn’s symphony and the transformation it receives in Mozart’s stupendous late work.
But to detect even the slightest traces of brutality
and crudeness; pathos, gravity, gloom, or the arch-enemy of truthfulness in this E-flat is simply impossible. Not to mention love or a sad dialog with God (the three flats stand for the Trinity)!
Similar to the French Overture, the first 25 measures, written over an organ point, develop the sonorous, festive introduction, whose warmth derives particularly through the use of clarinets instead of oboes. Its inner tension contrasts markedly to the rather simple main theme of the movement, which waltzes along in triple rhythm. Descending sixteenth-note runs propel the strings toward the secondary theme and add more dramatic
accents as well. Despite two passionate outbreaks, the Andante con moto in A-flat maintains
an elegiac mood throughout. The Menuett elegantly delights in its rhythm; the folksy hurdy-gurdy effect in the Trio, however, is entirely captivating,
and the exuberant Finale is reminiscent of Haydn’s gaiety and even glee at capturing the listener unawares.
The next work is the first entirely “tragic” symphony
among its brethren, and may well have been influenced by a symphony composed the previous year by Leopold Antonin Koželuh.
The G Minor we find here is neither royal and magnificent, as that key is often described, nor one of the most beautiful keys, due to its versatility,
suitable for restrained complaint and subdued happiness, but also not unhappy, unpleasant, expressing
sad gnashing of teeth or even repulsive rancor, but certainly – at least in the brusk Menuett
– irritable (according to often cited theoreticians).
With the exception of the Menuett, the G Minor in this work is thoroughly distressing, with no way out, with not even a shimmer of hope on the horizon. It is plain and simply devastating.
The two extant versions of K. 550, one without and one with added clarinets (certainly due to given performance possibilities), let us ascertain that this symphony must have been performed during Mozart’s life, even if we do not know exactly
Here, too, we find operatic drama penetrating the symphonic world. The stormy half-step motive
at the beginning comes from Cherubino’s aria Non sò più cosa son from Figaro, which literally vibrates with agitation. The second theme in the tonic parallel of B-flat Major never really asserts itself. The development becomes even more heated
and passionate. The 6/8 Andante meditates to itself, as it were – melancholically reflecting on the subdominant parallel key of E-flat Major; even the insertion of G Major in the middle of the Allegretto,
without the slightest whiff of courtly dance, is unable to brighten the atmosphere. Not even with the finish line in sight does the Finale allow pause for thought as it reaches the short, succinct conclusion, one which brings no hope.
K. 551 Jupiter
The title for Mozart’s last C Major contribution later
came from Johann Peter Salomon, the famous London concertmaster and impresario (until Ludwig
van Beethoven’s Eroica, op. 55, the Jupiter was greatest work of the Viennese Classic – not only because of its length).
Listening “between the notes” is especially important in Mozart’s work, because this constantly
ambivalent, never really jubilant music is often broken by minor shadings that cloud any festive brilliance. The music is based on the dualism
of male and female, hard and soft. This principle
is clearly audible at the beginning of the first movement with the three orchestral blows that a pleading appeal seeks to soothe (a third theme quoting the buffo-aria Un bacio di mano, KV 541 subsequently relaxes the tension of the previous measures) and in reverse order in the Andante, whose song-like melody is interrupted several times by accents, and in the Menuetto as well.
For the work’s conclusion, a crowning contrapuntal
masterpiece, Mozart not only used an idea developed by the “Salzburg Haydn”, that of combining
sonata-form with fugal elements, he even literally incorporated several measures from Haydn’s C Major Symphony, P. 30 dated February 19, 1788, presumably unconsciously. According to Alfred Einstein, Mozart’s underlying device, the four-tone motive on which this Finale is based, occupied him many times during his life, e.g. from the slow movement of his first Symphony in E-flat Major, K. 16 to the Credo in the F Major Mass, K. 186f (192), the Sanctus of the Credo-Mass, K. 257, and the development of the B-flat Major Symphony, K. 319 before achieving its apotheosis in the Jupiter.
Translation: Elizabeth Gahbler