Mahler 1 & Bezuidenhout plays Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ouverture: Don Giovanni, K.527
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat major, K. 271, “Jeune homme”
Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 1 in D major
MAHLER’S FIRST SYMPHONY
Mozart’s Don Giovanni has an almost mythical status. The scene in which the libertine main character is dragged into hell by “Il Commendatore” particularly captures the imagination. The dark music Mozart wrote for this scene is already announced in the dramatic overture.
Mozart’s Ninth Piano Concerto, composed in 1777, is the last and also the most significant piano Mozart wrote during his stay in Salzburg. His subsequent piano concertos were composed in Vienna. The piano part is particularly virtuosic, especially in the third movement. Recent research has revealed that Mozart wrote the part for Victoire Jenamy, the talented daughter of a famous French dancer. Previously, it was thought that the Ninth Piano Concerto was composed for a young French pianist visiting Salzburg, hence the nickname “Jeune homme”.
Mahler’s First Symphony begins with the awakening of nature: the strings spin thin wisps of mist with flageolet tones, while the woodwinds imitate bird sounds. After a boisterous finale bursting with life, the second movement presents a peasant dance grounded in deep strings. For the third movement, an ironic dance of death to the tune of Frère Jacques in a minor key, Mahler is said to have used a woodcut by Moritz von Schwindt as inspiration. Wie die Tiere den Jäger begraben shows how some animals - including some ‘Bremer Stadtmusikanten’ - bury a hunter in a dense forest with barely concealed amusement. The fourth and final movement begins with “a sudden outbreak of despair, coming from a deeply touched heart”. Over the ensuing 20 minutes, Mahler turns darkness into light with an immense effort of power, before a brilliant climax – with all seven hornists standing up together – brings the symphony to a grand conclusion.
Jonathan Bloxham, conductor
Kristian Bezuidenhout, piano
British conductor Jonathan Bloxham has swiftly made his mark as a conductor of “accomplished technique, innate musicianship, with a natural rapport with orchestras and a deep knowledge and understa
Kristian is an Artistic Director of the Freiburger Barockorchester and Principal Guest Director with the English Concert.