Artists

Conductor

5 Dec '20

Concert
5 Dec '20

René Jacobs

Tour

Concert dates and locations

  • 05 December 2020 | Victoria Hall Geneva | 20:00

Artists

Programme

Towards the end of his life, Mozart became friends with Anton Stadler, the composer's Masonic lodge brother and clarinettist of the Vienna Court Orchestra. The relationship prompted Mozart to write several works for this outstanding virtuoso who significantly contributed to the development of his instrument. After two chamber music pieces - the "Kegelstatt" Trio K. 498 and the Clarinet Quintet K. 581 - and obbligato parts in two arias from his opera La Clemenza di Tito, the composer set to work shortly before his death on his very last concerto, which he also dedicated to Stadler. Leaving aside the Requiem commissioned by Count Walsegg, Mozart went back to his project of a basset horn concerto that had already been penned in 1789. The A major Concerto K. 622 was probably written for a basset clarinet built by Stadler himself, which allowed Mozart to add four extra notes in the lowest register. Since Stadler later lost (or sold?) the manuscript, it has not been possible to determine which were these added notes. After the composer's death, the use of the "standard" clarinet became the norm and performers got into the habit of transposing the lowest notes an octave higher. Throughout this concerto, Mozart made the most of the full sound and melodic flexibility of the clarinet, combining a perfect mastery of concertante writing with his artistry in the field of chamber music. The Clarinet Concerto K. 622 is more than just an instrumental masterpiece. Mozart's final symphonic production can undoubtedly be perceived as a hymn of praise for universal brotherhood. The work was first published ten years after Mozart's death.
The second of Schubert's symphonies in C major, labelled "The Great" (as opposed to the "little" Sixth Symphony of 1818) is the composer's last symphonic production. It is not, however, a late work, although the first page of the manuscript bears the indication "March 1828". Schubert's Ninth Symphony is, in fact, the work he wrote in 1825 during a summer stay in Gmunden (Upper Austria). The composer had made reference to a symphony in his correspondence on several occasion, but no score had been found. The manuscript was actually among the documents which Ferdinand Schubert had kept after brother's death. Schumann laid hands on the Symphony in C major while going through this precious heritage. The piece had as yet never been performed in public, the Vienna Society of Music Friends having decided that the work was too long and difficult to play! Thanks to Schumann, the symphony was finally premiered (albeit with a few cuts!) in Leipzig on 21 March 1839, with Mendelssohn at the head of the Gewandhaus Orchestra. After Breitkopf & Härtel had published the work in 1840, Schumann wrote a laudatory article in which he highlighted the "heavenly length" of this highly original symphony. The piece constitutes the pinnacle of Schubert's efforts in the field of the symphony, against which he had long struggled. The composer himself was very satisfied with this final symphony in C major, a key that corresponds to an optimistic vision of the world in Schubert's production. "How refreshing is this feeling of overflowing wealth" confirmed Schumann in his lines devoted to this "Great" Symphony D. 944.

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Good to know

Born in Ghent, René Jacobs first trained to become a singer. He rapidly established himself as one of the leading countertenors in the field of baroque opera. In 1977, the René Jacobs created Concerto Vocale, his first ensemble with which he recorded Monteverdi operas. His first appearance at the Innsbruck Festival in 1983 as a conductor was a success and prompted the Flemish musician to continue conducting. His passion for Venetian opera inspired him to record little-known works by Cavalli. Until the turn of the century, René Jacobs was performing both as a singer and a conductor. Since the beginning of the 2000s, his career is chiefly devoted to conducting. He has contributed to many opera projects, in particular at the Innsbruck Festival, of which he was artistic director from 1991 to 2009. His extensive discography is mostly dedicated to early music, but also includes highly acclaimed recordings of Mozart operas.

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