Athens Camerata on Period Instruments
Encounters V: Vienna's miracle of the 1800's
2012, March 27
Four of the greatest composers of all time with a city in common: the glorious Vienna of the late 18th and early 19th century. Haydn was already the most celebrated composer in Europe when the young Mozart met him in Vienna in 1783 or 1784. The two quickly became friends and admirers of each others’ work, and would often amuse themselves by playing together in string quartets or quintets. Haydn once said this about his young friend: “The nations will soon be fighting over this jewel”. Mozart most probably met the young Beethoven in 1787, in Vienna once again. Beethoven, a young piano virtuoso, asked Mozart if he could play for him. Mozart was not particularly enthused with the first piece he played him, but then the young man asked him for a theme to improvise on and wouldn’t take no for an answer. When Beethoven had finished, Mozart said: “Mark that name. For one day it will be on everyone’s lips!” Beethoven met Schubert in 1822, towards the end of his life, when the young composer visited the musical giant’s home with a gift: a series of piano variations for four hands on a French song (Op. 10, D 642), which he had dedicated to the master.
The Camerata on period instruments under the baton of the director of the Greek National Opera, Myron Michailidis, will take us back to the magical sounds of Vienna in the late 18th and early 19th century. The overture from Haydn’s opera Isola disabitata is a short symphony in three parts. Written in the Sturm und Drang style so typical of the German music of this era, the music represents the storm that cast the opera’s protagonists upon the titular “deserted isle”. Mozart’s famous "Popoli di Tessaglia" aria, rendered here in the stratospheric voice of Vasiliki Karagianni, is a virtuosic tour de force for the soprano which includes the highest notes ever written for the human voice (high G). Beethoven’s well-known Second Piano Concerto is actually his first (the one labelled his first is actually a later work). Very close stylistically to Mozart’s piano concertos, the work still contains all the elements of the composer’s mature style. Schubert’s Fifth Symphony was written in 1816. Its marvellous subjects, Viennese style, classical architecture and pellucid orchestration make for a work in a chamber style, emphasizing the close bonds between Schubert and the music of Mozart and Beethoven.
Orchestra Conductor: Myron Michailidis
Overture from the opera Isola disabitata [The Desert Island]
Ludwig van Beethoven
Concerto for fortepiano and orchestra no. 2 in B-flat major, οp. 19
Soloist: Thanasis Apostolopoulos - fortepiano
Wοlfgang Amadeus Mozart
Concerto aria: "Popoli di Tessaglia", K. 316 (aria for Gluck's opera Alceste)
Soloist: Vassiliki Karagianni
Symphony no. 5 in B-flat major, D. 485