Symphonic Concert – Eötvös | Mozart | Strauss
June 18th 2017, 7:00 pm
The Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio, Warsaw
It is hard to believe that Mozart’s humorous, elegant and charming Clarinet Concerto in A major is one of his last pieces, finished in autumn of 1791, only a few weeks before his death. Nothing, however, portended it at that time. The unexpected and still mysterious illness was yet to come, while the legend of the intense opus ultimum was to refer to the unfortunately unfinished Requiem. The history of music knows many examples of stunning outcomes of composer-virtuoso friendships and the concerto is one of them. This particular piece was intended for an outstanding clarinettist Anton Stadler who played also basset horn – another member of the clarinet family. Even today it is still discussed for which instrument did Mozart compose his concerto as its range exceeds the one characteristic for the clarinet in A. An additional attraction of our 18 June concert will be the fact that the excellent soloist Krzysztof Grzybowski is going to use the unusual basset horn, being a hypothetical reconstruction of Stadler’s instrument with a range extended down.
The spirit of the brilliant classic will permeate also other compositions of the concert. Today, it is presented quite rarely, however Richard Strauss’s early Symphony in F minor (work of a twenty-year-old, although preceded by Symphony in D minor composed four years earlier) already indicates many elements of the style of the programme music master and wizard of orchestra harmonies. The symphony clearly pays the composer’s debt to his beloved classics – especially Beethoven. But not only to him – Strauss plays with conventions and subtly refers to the broadly-taken “Viennese” tradition: also to the formal clarity of Mozart (nota bene, during the European premiere performance of the piece, presented previously in New York, he combined it with Mozart’s Piano Concert in C minor, where he played the solo part) and the melodiousness and nostalgia of Schubert’s motifs.
The sole title of the piece (Dialog mit Mozart) by Peter Eötvös, a leading contemporary Hungarian composer, gives away the inspiration. It is a symphony version of a previous (2014) composition da capo for a chamber ensemble and cimbalom, which pursues an interesting concept: it contains apparent quotations from Mozart’s unfinished sketches and excerpts from his original music (that means pieces that are never performed in concert), transformed further using the means of contemporary sound language.
Born in Lebanon and residing in Poland, the concert’s conductor – Bassem Samir Akiki – is admired by audiences and critics in many countries. He combines supreme artistic skills with the passion of a scientist – a philosopher of music who researched ideological relationships between the philosophy of Nietzsche and the works of Wagner and Strauss, while his doctoral dissertation (Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw) was devoted to Eötvös.
Krzysztof Grzybowski – bass clarinet
Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Bassem Samir Akiki – conductor
Peter Eötvös – Dialog mit Mozart
W. A. Mozart – Koncert klarnetowy A-dur KV 622
Richard Strauss – Symfonia f-moll op. 12