MOZART: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik / Serenata Notturna (Capella Istropolitana/ Wolfgang Sobotka) (Naxos: 8.550026)
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Eine kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525
Serenata Notturna, K. 239
Rondeau: Allegretto -Adagio -Allegro
Divertimento in F, K. 247 "Lodron NightMusic No.1"
As a child Mozart had enjoyed phenomenalsuccess, travelling through Europe and, with his sister Nannerl, performing forkings and queens, the nobility and others able to afford the spectacle. Hisfather Leopold Mozart, Vice-Kapellmeister to the Archbishop of Salzburg, hadtaken good care of his only surviving son's education and musical training, andhad managed his career at the expense of his own.
In December 1771 the Mozart's patron, theArchbishop, had died and was succeeded early in the following year by a lesssympathetic churchman, the reformist Count Hieronymus von Colloredo, a son ofthe Imperial Vice-Chancellor. The new Archbishop shared the feelings of theImperial family on the activities of the Mozarts, who seemed to bring no crediton their employers by "travelling around like beggars". The concerttours that had brought some profit and distinction to the family were to becurtailed, and Mozart was for a few years to be more or less confined to thenarrow limits of Salzburg, in a position that he and his father found quiteunworthy of his genius.
Nevertheless in Salzburg there was work to bedone, music to be written and played. In 1777 Mozart was to set out,accompanied only by his mother, to seek his fortune in Mannheim and in Paris,an abortive journey, during the course of which his mother died. Mannheim inparticular, with its virtuoso orchestra, provided a stimulus to his work.
Before this, however, Salzburg had provided the occasion for a number ofcompositions, including the Serenata Notturna and the two Divertimentisometimes known as the Lodron Nightmusic, occasional pieces to celebrate thename-day in 1776 and 1777 of Countess Antonia Lodron on 13th June. TheCountess, born Arco, a name we meet in the accounts of Mozart's later dismissalfrom the Archbishop's service in 1781, was the wife of the hereditary marshalof the court, and a leading patroness of music in Salzburg. The Mozarts were onvisiting terms, however deferentially, and Leopold Mozart and his son hadjoined the Lodron's party at a fancy dress ball in February, 1776, LeopoldMozart as a porter and his son as a barber's boy.
It was during the winter that Mozart had writtenthe Serenata Notturna, K. 239, completed in January, 1776, and clearly designedfor some Salzburg social occasion. The work is scored for a concerti no ofsingle strings, two violins, a viola and a double bass, and a body of ripienostrings and timpani, an arrangement which, bar the drums, must remind us of theform of the Baroque concerto grosso.
The first movement of the Serenata is a statelyMarch, in which the smaller and larger groups of instruments are contrasted.
There follows a Minuet, and a Trio played by the concertino, leading, after therepetition of the Minuet, to a final Rondo that includes episodes of possibletopical reference. Within the framework of the repeated principal theme comes asolemn Adagio, the music of a country dance and a brief and unexpected pluckingof strings, before the lively conclusion.
The Divertimento in F is scored for two hornsand strings, and was completed in June, 1776, for Countess Antonia Lodron'sname-day It starts with a lively movement in all the clarity of classical firstmovement form. This is followed by a C major Andante grazioso and a firstMinuet returning to the key of F, with a contrasting D minor Trio.
The next movement, marked Adagio and in the keyof B flat, is scored only for strings, the first violin taking the lead. Thesecond Minuet, in F, with a B flat Trio for the strings alone, leads to a finalmovement with a slow introduction and a varied concluding rondo, all wellsuited to the occasion of the composition
Eine kleine Nachtmusik, the Serenada in G, K525, comes from a later period of Mozart's life. In 1781 Mozart, who hadreturned from Mannheim and Paris to the service of the Archbishop of Salzburg,accompanied his patron on a visit to the Imperial capital, Vienna. There hefinally broke with his employer and secured his dismissal from thearchiepiscopal court. In Vienna there seemed every opportunity, which it seemedhis patron was deliberately preventing him from seizing.
The last ten years of Mozart's life were spentin Vienna, without the presence of his father to guide him and without the kindof secure patronage that he had hoped to gain at court. An imprudent marriagebrought its own difficulties, but Mozart, nevertheless, won some immediateacclaim, both in the theatre and as a performer on the fortepiano, popularitywhich waned, but had begun to revive at the time of his sudden death inDecember, 1791.
Eine kleine Nachtmusik was written in August,1787, a few months after the death of Leopold Mozart in Salzburg, while Mozart waspreparing his new opera, Don Giovanni, for performance in Prague The occasionof its composition is unknown, but the work would have been suitable fordomestic performance. Originally including a first Minuet, now lost, theSerenade opens with music as lucid and cheerful as anything Mozart wrote,followed by a Romance of charm and ingenuity, a spry Minuet and a final Rondo,a conclusion to the remarkable series of Serenades and Divertimenti on whichMozart had embarked twenty years before, as a ten-year-old.
Capella Istropolitana (Slovak PhilharmonicChamber Orchestra)
The Capella Istropolitana is a chamber orchestraformed by leading members of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in Bratislava.
Founded in 1983, the chamber orchestra allows the players, many of themexperienced soloists, to playas chamber musicians. Much of the work of theorchestra has been concentrated on the recording studio.
The Austrian conductor Wolfgang Sobotka was bornin 1956 at Waidhofen, where he has for a number of years been leader of theWaidhofen Baroque Ensemble and conductor of the Waidhofen Chamber Orchestra.
Trained as a cellist, he has been involved in the training of cellists in theLower Austrian Youth Orchestra, and since 1983 has been conductor at theBruckner Conservatory in 1986 Woifgang Sobotka took part in the InternationalArturo Toscanini Conductor's Competition and was a finalist in the BielInternational Master Course for Conductors.