Artists

Soloist

22 Feb '21

Concert
22 Feb '21

Timothy Chooi

Tour

Concert dates and locations

  • 22 February 2021 | Victoria Hall Geneva | 20:00

Artists

Programme

A search for the Köchel number 196 in the catalogue of Mozart's works will lead to the opera La finta giardiniera. The composer was 18 years old when he composed his eighth stage work, an opera buffa commissioned by the Elector of Bavaria for the Munich Carnival. Inspired by the commedia dell'arte, Mozart wrote a virtuoso and charming three-act work, which is preceded by an orchestral Sinfonia according to the tradition in Italian opera. The success of the first performance in Munich on 13 January 1775 perhaps convinced Mozart to integrate La finta giardiniera's overture into a symphony. After his return to Salzburg, Mozart added a third movement to the two existing parts of the opera's overture. This last movement might, however, be an older piece, composed two years earlier in Milan. Mozart was then making use of the same paper that was used to write this final Allegro.
During his childhood travels, Mozart performed both as a violinist and as a pianist. In the late 1770s, however, he abandoned the bow in favour of the keyboard. From then on, the musician only sometimes played the viola part in chamber music ensembles. Mozart's five violin concertos were all written in Salzburg during the year 1775 and were probably intended for personal use. This group of works occupies a special place in Mozart's output. Before then, the composer had only approached the violin concerto through small concertante interludes inserted in his Serenades or Cassations. The five violin concertos he wrote in 1775 allowed him to assert his style in this genre. Mozart made the most of the violin's resources in the Concerto in A major. The perfection of the first movement's writing is already worthy of the composer's great works of maturity. The central piece, in Mozart's much-beloved E-flat major key, sets itself apart for its sensuality. The concerto is rounded off with a long Rondeau in which the composer introduced a "Turkish" rhythm he had already used in his ballet Le Gelosie del Seraglio.
In 1873, when Dvořák's music was beginning to attract attention, the Czech composer wrote a String Quartet in F minor for a Prague ensemble. The musicians weren't satisfied with the work's style and refused to play it. Dvořák, therefore, withdrew the quartet from his catalogue. The work was only published in 1929, a year before its first performance in public. Four years after the quartet's rejection, Dvořák decided to transcribe the slow movement as a Romance for violin and piano. He also produced an orchestral version which was premiered in Prague in December 1877. The piece is built on the main motive of the quartet's movement, to which Dvořák added a generous introduction. He also extensively developed the secondary themes and coloured the orchestral accompaniment to highlight the wind instruments. Despite being only a miniature, this Romance is one of Dvořák's most beautiful melodic achievements.
Although the actual date of composition has been scratched away, the year 1774 still seems to appear on the Symphony in A major's manuscript. The work was composed a year before the violin concertos and thus concludes the "Sturm und Drang" period in Mozart's output. In the symphonies that followed, Mozart developed a new expressive range, thanks to the lessons he had absorbed in Vienna during a trip with his father. His A major Symphony is a first step towards the much-appreciated "Galant style". In this work, Mozart abandoned the three-movement form of the Italian Sinfonia in favour of a four-movement structure. He also opted for a minimal orchestral score, using only two oboes and two horns to complete the strings. The symphony opens with an ambitious Allegro moderato and much contrapuntal elaboration. The Andante that follows is throughout serene, while the Menuetto presents two facets: bumptious in the opening theme and far more graceful in the central trio. In the rollicking finale, the orchestra releases all its richness in a frantic hunt.

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Good to know

Canadian violinist Timothy Chooi has won numerous awards and huge public acclaim. Winner of the First Prize at the 2018 Joseph Joachim Competition in Hanover, he also won the Schadt Competition in the USA that same year, as well as the Yves Paternot Prize at the Verbier Festival. This distinction rewards the most promising and accomplished musician of the annual Academy for young professional musicians. Timothy Chooi started his musical studies in his native Canada. Later accepted at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, he then went on to complete a master programme at the Juilliard School in New York. He has played as a soloist with all the major Canadian orchestras and many European ensembles and has performed in recital at the Gstaad Menuhin Festival. Timothy Chooi regularly shares the stage with his older brother Nikki, also a violinist. The duo stands out for its original projects which it often presents in unusual venues.

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