About this Recording
2.110245 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - ITALY: Brixen - AUSTRIA: Innsbruck (NTSC)
English 

A Musical Tour of Brixen and Innsbruck
With music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

 

CHAPTER 1

Italy: Southern Tyrol – Neustift Monastery, near Brixen
The Augustinian monastery of Neustift was founded in the 12th century by Bishop Hartmann of Brixen, spiritual counsellor of the Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa. It was the most southerly German religious foundation. Over the years various changes have been made to the buildings, particularly to bring together the diverse original components of the establishment, the hospice, novitiate, church and enclosure. The clock-tower and the Chapel of St Michael (the Engelsburg), with its round towers, are Romanesque in style, with other buildings reflecting the Gothic, dating from the 15th century. The Wunderbrunnen with a pagoda-like structure, erected in the early 16th century, has paintings of the Seven Wonders of the World, including the Temple of Diana at Ephesus and the Colossus of Rhodes, and the cloister ceilings also have paintings, principally of figures or events from Scripture.

Music Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K.550 – I. Molto allegro
It was only in 1781 that Mozart managed to break away from his native Salzburg, with its relatively limited musical possibilities, to make a life for himself in Vienna. His early years there brought him success as a composer and as a performer, with works written to be played at subscription concerts that he organized. By 1788, however, the novelty of his presence in Vienna had begun to fade, and he found it increasingly difficult to meet the expenses he found necessary, a situation not helped by his marriage in 1782. His last three symphonies were written in the space of a few weeks in the summer of 1788, perhaps with a view to their performance at concerts he hoped to arrange in the coming season in Vienna. In the event no such concerts took place, but it is probable that Symphony No. 40 in G minor was played in a concert conducted by the Court Kapellmeister Antonio Salieri in April 1791. The symphony opens with a dramatic theme, presented by the strings and leading to a gentler secondary theme, shared with the wind. The central development traces the opening figure through various keys, introducing a strongly contrapuntal element. The movement ends with a recapitulation in which the second theme, now in a minor key, brings greater poignancy.

CHAPTER 2

Italy: Southern Tyrol – Neustift Monastery, near Brixen
The church presents a fine example of the late Baroque, typical in many ways of the churches of Southern Germany and Austria of the 18th century, although elements of earlier architectural styles remain. The frescoes, dating from 1735/36, are the work of the Augsburg artist Matthäus Günther, whose style reflects that of Tiepolo. Frescoes in the nave include representations of the baptism of St Augustine, the saint among representatives of the various orders following his rule, in conflict with heretics and with the saints of the Augustinian order. The side chapels have further paintings representing various saints, with the offerings to the Blessed Virgin from the four corners of the earth ornamenting the cupola above the high altar. There are representations of St Jerome, translator of the Latin Bible, and St Gregory, the reformer of Christian chant.

Music Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K.550: II. Andante
The Andante, in E flat major, suggests, both in its key and mood, the first symphony of the final group of three, the Symphony No. 39 in E flat major, K. 549.

CHAPTER 3

Italy: Southern Tyrol – Neustift Monastery, near Brixen
Late medieval paintings at Neustift include five episodes from the life and death of St Catherine of Alexandria and of St Barbara, with representations of St Paul and of episodes in the life of St Augustine. The paintings include a vivid representation of the Passion of Christ.

Music Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K.550 – III. Menuetto: Allegretto
The Minuet of the symphony frames a contrasting trio section in G major.

CHAPTER 4

Italy: Southern Tyrol – Neustift Monastery, near Brixen
The library at Neustift is a fine example of rococo ornamentation. It was built under the Provost Leopold Da Zanna in the late 18th century. Many of the illuminated manuscripts, the work of the Neustift scriptorium, and other valuable volumes were moved to Innsbruck in 1807 after the secularisation of the foundation, which was restored in 1816. Many volumes were later brought back to Neustift after the Great War.

Music Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K.550 – IV. Allegro assai
The last movement of the symphony is largely in the minor key, contrary to more usual practice at the time. The second subject, however, is in B flat major, but still retains an air of melancholy, a characteristic retained when it returns in the final section of the movement.

CHAPTER 5

Austria: Innsbruck
Innsbruck achieved a position of some importance in the early 15th century under Duke Friedrich IV who transferred his capital there from Merano. In 1493 it passed to the Habsburg Maximilian I, remaining the principal Habsburg seat until 1665. It is now the capital of the Tyrol, although Southern Tyrol passed to Italy in 1919. Surrounded by mountains, the city is built by the side of the River Inn. The Hofburg was rebuilt under the Empress Maria Theresa in the 18th century, a period during which the adjacent Pfarrkirche St Jakob was also modernised. The Hofkirche, adapted in the 18th century to Baroque style, has the status of a cathedral (Dom).

Music Mozart: Symphony No. 28 in C major, K.200 – I. Allegro spiritoso
Mozart wrote his Symphony No. 28 in C major, K. 200, in November 1773 or in 1774 in Salzburg, after his return from the last of his Italian journeys and a largely fruitless visit to Vienna, where his father had hoped to find employment for him in more favourable circumstances than those at home in his native city. The symphony is scored for the usual orchestra of oboes, horns and strings, augmented by a pair of trumpets. The principal theme of the first movement, based on a descending scale, is preceded by a brief call to our attention. The second subject allows the oboes to punctuate a melody entrusted primarily to the strings. A figure from the main theme, heard from the cello, joined by the viola, introduces the central development and makes its due return to usher in the recapitulation.

CHAPTER 6

Austria: Innsbruck – Helbling House
The Helblinghaus in Herzog Friedrich Strasse (Duke Friedrich Street) dates originally from 1560 and is a Gothic structure. It acquired its elaborate rococo stucco ornamentation in about 1730.

Music Mozart: Symphony No. 28 in C major, K.200 – II. Andante
Muted strings dominate the moving Andante, with its embellished first violin part.

CHAPTER 7

Austria: Innsbruck – House with the Golden Roof
The Goldenes Dachl, the House with the Golden Roof, was originally built by Duke Friedrich in about 1420 as his own residence. It was largely rebuilt in 1822. The loggia and oriel window surviving from the original building give the edifice its popular name. The roof of the loggia is covered with fired-gilded copper tiles. The ornamentation includes a series of reliefs of grotesque dancers and representations of the Emperor Maximilian with his two wives and with his chancellor and court jester. Below is a row of carved coats of arms of Austria, Hungary, the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Germany, Burgundy and Milan, with those of Styria and Tyrol at the sides. Other decoration includes wall paintings of two standard-bearers with the insignia of the Holy Roman Empire and of Tyrol.

Music Mozart: Symphony No. 28 in C major, K.200 – III. Minuetto: Allegretto
The trumpets return for the Minuet, in which the horns have a brief moment of exposure. This frames an F major Trio that is entrusted to the strings.

CHAPTER 8

Austria: Innsbruck
At the centre of Innsbruck is the Maria Theresien Strasse, looking towards the mountains. In the middle of the street is the Annasäule (St Anne’s Column), erected to mark the end of the War of the Spanish Succession on St Anne’s Day in 1703, when Bavarian troops withdrew from the city. The roofs, towers and domes of Innsbruck are seen. The triumphal arch in Maria Theresien Strasse was erected in 1765 to mark the state entry of the Empress and her husband Franz I on the occasion of the marriage of their son, the future Leopold II, to the Infanta Maria Ludovica of Spain. The Emperor died during the celebrations.

Music Mozart: Symphony No. 28 in C major, K.200 – IV. Presto
The last movement of the symphony is opened by the first and second violins in comic opera mood. The movement provides a sparkling conclusion to the symphony and hints at the kind of instrumental writing that was to come, after Mozart had discarded the limitations of Salzburg.

CHAPTER 9

Austria: Innsbruck Alpine Zoo
The Innsbruck Alpine Zoo is home to a wide variety of animals. We see a group of water-birds, mallards, herons, and white and black storks.

Music Mozart: Il rè pastore, K.208 – Overture
Salzburg had no opera house, but in 1775 Mozart provided a festa teatrale in a setting of a compressed version of the old Court Poet Metastasio’s libretto, Il rè pastore (The Shepherd King), to celebrate the visit of the youngest son of the Empress, Archduke Maximilian, on his way to Italy. The Overture is scored for the usual instruments, with trumpets.

CHAPTER 10

Austria: Wilten Collegiate Church, Innsbruck
The Stiftskirche at Wilten, in the southern part of Innsbruck, was founded as an abbey in the 10th century and from 1138 was in the hands of the Premonstratensians. The present building dates from the 17th century, but underwent changes in the 18th century and also in the 20th, after bomb damage in the war. The interior is characteristic of the Baroque, with an iron grille dating from 1707 and a high altar from 1665.

Music Mozart: The Abduction from the Seraglio, K.384 – Overture
Mozart broke with his patron, the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, in 1781, during the course of a visit to Vienna, where he remained for the rest of his life. His first great theatrical success there was with the German opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio), with a plot set in Turkey. This dramatic setting allowed the use of instruments particularly associated at the time with the Turkish Janissary Band, cymbals, triangle, bass drum and piccolo, in addition to the usual instruments. The ‘Turkish’ style can be heard from the start in the Overture.

CHAPTER 11

Austria: Wilten Basilica, Innsbruck
The Wilten Basilica was founded in the 12th century, but the present building dates from the mid-18th century. The interior is elaborately decorated, with remarkable stucco work and interesting frescoes that include scenes of the death of Holofernes, decapitated by Judith, and of Jacob’s dream.

Music Mozart: La clemenza di Tito, K.621 – Overture
Mozart’s opera La clemenza di Tito (The Clemency of Titus) was written in the last year of his life, 1791, for Prague, to celebrate the coronation there of the new Emperor Leopold II as King of Bohemia. The Empress is reported to have found the opera stultifyingly German but Prague audiences welcomed it. The Overture, scored for clarinets, trumpets and drums, as well as the usual instruments, provided a suitable introduction to an official occasion and an opera that celebrated the virtue of a Roman emperor.

Keith Anderson

 

Recordings

Symphonies 40 and 28: Capella Istropolitana conducted by Barry Wordsworth, from Naxos 8.550164. Overtures to Il rè pastore, The Abduction from the Seraglio and La clemenza di Tito: Capella Istropolitana conducted by Barry Wordsworth, from Naxos 8.550185.


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