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Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Date of Event

Tuesday, 26. 5. 2020 from 20.00
Expected end of the concert 22.20

Price

350 - 1 200 CZK

Program

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor KV 466
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major KV 467
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat major KV 482
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Masonic Funeral Music KV 477

Interprets

  • Leif Ove Andsnes - piano
  • Mahler Chamber Orchestra

The renowned Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra recently produced a brilliant and rare project, The Beethoven Journey, in which they performed the complete set of Beethoven’s piano concertos over the course of four seasons. The Prague Spring played a crucial role in this grand enterprise, as most of the material was recorded at festival concerts.

Encouraged by the exceptional response, they are now coming with a new project called Mozart Momentum 1785/1786. Its aim is to realise several concert tours and festival performances in the years 2019–22 – including several recordings for Sony Classical. The audience will be presented with works from Mozart’s peak period, with an emphasis on piano concertos, which were fundamental to Mozart’s development. The Prague Spring and the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum will again have a significant place in the project.

Both Piano Concerto in D minor KV 466 and Piano Concerto in C major KV 467 are among the most played works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791). The composer completed them in early February and March 1785, during a weeks-long visit by his beloved father Leopold. Whereas the graceful Concerto in C major is imbued with typical Mozartian gaiety and humour, Concerto in D minor is astonishingly dramatic from the very first bars. It is also one of only two piano concertos by Mozart in a minor key. Mozart often selected the tonality of his works in relation to specific emotions, and D minor was one that he used only for the most serious of his compositions (as illustrated by String Quartet No. 15 KV 421, the opera Don Giovanni, or Requiem). The instrumentation is also full of unusual, at times truly dark hues compared to Mozart’s other works from the period. However, it does conclude in a conciliatory D major key, which seems to evoke a “happy ending” of sorts. To this day, the concerto astonishes audiences with its ferocity, abrupt attacks, and powerful solo part. Its concept is closer to the stormy music of Ludwig van Beethoven, who greatly appreciated this work by Mozart and often performed it himself.

The evening will continue with a rendition of Masonic Funeral Music KV 477 and Piano Concerto in E flat major KV 482, which will surprise with its uncharacteristic, almost symphonic density. This is brought about both by its expansive form and by its ingenious instrumentation, in which the composer used clarinets for the very first time. The elegiac Andante of the second movement has an almost Romantic touch at times, and listeners will not be surprised to hear that the audience of the premiere immediately requested a repeat.

The Mahler Chamber Orchestra was established in 1997 as a follow-up to the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, with the same aim, that is, to associate young musicians at the start of their careers. With 45 members from 20 different countries, it performs literally all over the world with a wide-ranging repertoire from Baroque to contemporary music. The ensemble has worked with people like Martha Argerich, Cecillia Bartoli, or Jonas Kaufman. Its current artistic partners include the pianists Mitsuko Uchida and Leif Ove Andsnes, the violinist Pekka Kuusisto and the conductor Teodor Currentzis.

The Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, lauded by The Wall Street Journal as “one of the most gifted musicians of his generation”, is a graduate of the conservatoire in Bergen, where he studied under the guidance of the Czech teacher Jiří Hlinka. Besides collaborating with world-leading orchestras (London Philharmonic Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Munich Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra), he also performs solo and chamber recitals. His music has taken him to most of the countries of Europe, to Asia and the United States, where he also played at the famous Carnegie Hall. He has received numerous awards, including five Gramophone Awards, and has been nominated for a Grammy eight times. He currently has an exclusive recording contract with Sony Classical.