About the event
Gábor Takács-Nagy’s Haydn–Mozart series, which has been running with great success for years, now incorporates works by less frequently played composers. Each piece being an odd-man-out in its own right, they are still attached to each other on many counts, primarily because of the dominating D tonality and because of the outstanding role of soloists. The strongest link between the composers is that all four of them were excellent instrumentalists. They wrote a number of their works for themselves, perfectly mastering, and pushing to the limits the attributes of their respective instruments. They should also be appreciated for their several technical innovations. After Mozart’s nimble divertimento comes the most successful composition by the Polish violin virtuoso Wieniawski. Following the intermission, Spohr’s double concerto-like, single-movement piece is followed by a scintillating Haydn symphony. All this is on offer with the orchestra led by a conductor specializing in Haydn and Mozart.
A divertimento is similar to a serenade but was typically played by a smaller ensemble and was usually performed indoors. The genre’s dependence on soloists is striking, even if two or more musicians play the parts. Mozart’s piece from 1773 in D major, scored for violin, viola, bassoon, double-bass and two French horns, consists of five movements. The first movement begins with an unusually melancholic slow introduction; two Minuets brace an intimate slow movement for string trio and the piece ends with variational Finale.
Shall I compose something popular or something long-lasting? – that is a dilemma for all virtuoso composers. Henryk Wieniawski managed to combine the two in his Violin Concerto No. 2, premiered in 1862: he retained all the impressive technical passages that pleased the audience, but also achieved a profundity that wasn’t typical of the bravura pieces of the day. A veiled melody launches the first movement, transforming attacca into a singing romance. The third movement, together with recapitulating earlier themes and its “à la Zingara” expression instruction, lends an impressive Finale to the concerto that the soloist István Kádár, four times winner of the Sándor Végh Competition, first performed aged 13.
The regularly held BFO home competition bearing Sándor Végh’s name saw violinist Mária Gál-Tamási win several times. She and cellist Gabriella Liptai play the solo parts of an undeservedly seldom performed concertante. Besides being one of the most respected violinists of his time, Spohr achieved the same success as a composer. The soloists sang the entire piece, composed in 1803, as an operatic duet from its hymnic overture to its dancing middle section to the overwhelming finale.
Towards the end of 1779, the Esterházy court in Fertőd/Eszterháza was destroyed in a fire. Lots of sheet music by Haydn and orchestral instruments were consumed in the flames. Soon the Prince laid the foundation stone of the new opera house there; Haydn marked the event with a new symphony. The opening movement is as succinct as an overture and is followed by a gripping canon in which the parts are inverted. After the somewhat Beethovenesque Minuet, the Finale in D minor has a motif of repeated notes that develop into a triple fugue in no time.