MOZART: Symphonies Nos. 34, 35 and 39 (Barry Wordsworth/ Capella Istropolitana/ Gunter Appenheimer) (Naxos: 8.550186)
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Symphony No.34 in C major, K. 338
Symphony No.35 in D major, K. 395'Haffner'
Symphony No.39 in E flat major, K.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born inSalzburg in 1756, the youngest and second surviving child of Leopold Mozart, a violinistand composer in the service of the ruling Archbishop. The boy's phenomenal musical abilitywas apparent at an early age and his father devoted himself to fostering a talent that heregarded as a gift of God. With his elder sister Anna-Maria, known in the family asNannerl to his own Wolferl, the young Mozart travelled widely, under the close guidance ofhis father, playing in many of the major cities of Europe before kings and queans, and forthe curious.
Childhood which had brought greatsuccess to Mozart as an infant prodigy was followed by adolescence in which he foundhimself increasingly tied to Salzburg, where opportunities were limited and where theaccession of a new Archbishop of reformist tendencies proved still more oppressive. In1777, when permission to travel was refused the family, Mozart, accompanied only by hismother, who was to die on the journey, set out for Paris, having resigned his position atthe archiepiscopal court. Visits to Munich and in particular to Mannheim, with its famousorchestra, broadened his musical experience and his acquaintance, but brought no offer ofemployment. Paris proved equally disappointing, and in 1778 he made his slow return aloneto Salzburg, to be grudgingly reinstated as a member of the Archbishop's musicalestablishment.
Early in 1781 his opera Idomeneo, commissioned for Munich, was successfullymounted, and Mozart went from there to Vienna to join his patron. The imperial capitalseemed to offer every opportunity, but the demands of the Archbishop prevented Mozart frommaking use of the chances for prestige and profit that were there. A quarrel resulted inignominious dismissal and a subsequent career without adequate patronage but withconsiderable initial success in Vienna, where he could no longer rely on the presence ofhis father, who remained in Salzburg as Vice-Kapellmeister, a position he occupied untilhis death in 1787. Mozart's marriage to a girl without fortune did nothing to improvematters, as Vienna became used to his presence and financial difficulties grew. Hisearlier success in the opera-house seemed about to be renewed with the German opera TheMagic Flute, staged in a suburban theatre in 1791, when he died, after a short illness,the cause of which has given rise to much romantic speculation.
Mozart wrote his first symphoniesduring the fifteen months he spent in London in 1764 and 1765, occupying himself in thisway during his father's illness which had forced the family to move to lodgings inChelsea. These early works naturally show the influence of Johann Christian Bach, whom hehad met in London. The last three symphonies were written in Vienna during the summer of1788 at a time when he found himself in some financial difficulty and were presumablyintended for use in concerts planned for the coming season, although no such concerts infact took place.
Symphony No.34 in Cmajor, K. 338, was completedin Salzburg on 29th August 1780. There is no certain evidence of its performance inMozart's life-time, but it was probably the symphony played at the first of the composer'sconcerts at the Augarten in Vienna in May 1782. It is in three movements, although aMinuet had originally been intended, to be abandoned after a few bars. Scoring is forpairs of oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets and drums, with the usual strings.
Haffner Symphony was written in Vienna in 1782 andis scored for pairs of oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets, drums, and strings, to whichMozart later added flutes and clarinets in the outer movements. The work was commissionedfor the elevation to the nobility of Sigmund Haffner in Salzburg and was in the form of aserenade, with two Minuet movements and a March. The additional instruments and the fourmovement form were designed for later use in Vienna. The whole composition was hurried,the commission coming at a time when Mozart was enjoying the success of his first Viennaopera, Die Entf??hrung aus dem Serail, andarranging the work for wind band before anyone else could profit from such an arrangement.
It was in late July that he sought his father's permission to marry Constanze Weber. Themarriage took place on 4th August, presenting Leopold Mozart with a fait accompli.
The Symphony in E flat major, K. 543, is the first of thelast three that Mozart wrote and was completed on 26th June 1788, the day before a letterto his fellow freemason Michael Puchberg thanking him for money lent and asking forpatience over its repayment. With all the confidence and optimism of a Mr. Micawber heasks, at the same time, for a larger sum for a longer period, a request that Puchberg hadthe sense to reject. The E flat Symphony is scored for one flute, pairs of clarinets,bassoons, horns, trumpets and drums, and strings.
The Capella Istropolitana wasfounded in 1983 by members of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, at first as a chamberorchestra and then as an orchestra large enough to tackle the standard classicalrepertoire. Based in Bratislava, its name drawn from the ancient name still preserved inthe Academia Istropolitana, the historic university established in the Slovak and one-timeHungarian capital by Matthias Corvinus, the orchestra works principally in the recordingstudio. Recordings by the orchestra on the Naxoslabel include The Best of Baroque Music, Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, fifteen each of Mozart's andHaydn's symphonies as well as works by Handel, Vivaldi and Telemann.
Barry Wordsworth's career has beendominated by his work for the Royal Ballet which started when he played the solo part inFrank Martin's Harpsichord Concerto, which was the score used by Sir Kenneth MacMillan forhis ballet, Las Hermanas. In 1973 he became Assistant Conductor of the Royal Ballet'sTouring Orchestra and in 1974 Principal Conductor of Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet. He madehis debut at Covent Garden conducting MacMillan's Manon
in 1975 and since then has conducted there frequently. He has toured extensively with theRoyal Ballet, conducting orchestras in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Canadaand Australia, where he has been guest conductor for Australian Ballet.
In 1987 while retaining hisconnection with both Royal Ballet companies as guest conductor, Barry Wordsworth alsoworked with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, thePhliharmonia, the Ulster Orchestra, the BBC Concert and the London PhilharmonicOrchestras. He also continued to work with New Sadlers Wells Opera, with whom he hasrecorded excerpts from Kalman's Countess Maritza
and Lehar's The Count of Luxembourg and The Merry Widow. For the Naxos label Wordsworthrecorded a number of Mozart and Haydn symphonies, works by Smetana and Dvorak and for theMarco Polo label works by Bax.