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2.110303 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - ITALY: A Musical Tour of South Tyrol (NTSC)
A Musical Tour of Italy’s Southern Tyrol
Brixen: City, Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace
Brixen (Bressanone) was once the capital of a principality and remains the seat of a bishop, ruling an extensive diocese. Glimpses are seen of the Rathaus and the adjacent gardens, streets and houses and the twin towers of the cathedral.
Music Mozart: Piano Concerto No 9 in E flat major, K 271 (Jeunehomme) – I. Allegro
Mozart wrote the so-called Jeunehomme Concerto in Salzburg in January 1777 for the French virtuosa, Mademoiselle Jeunehomme, whose name appears in various misspellings in the Mozart family correspondence. She had visited Salzburg at the end of 1776, the occasion for the composition of the concerto, and Mozart was to renew the acquaintance in Paris in the following year. He made use of the concerto, a particularly brilliant work, himself, and played it in Munich and Paris and probably at his first public concert in Vienna in 1781. Three sets of cadenzas survive for the third movement and two for the first and second, the later ones written for Vienna.
Brixen: Bishop’s Palace
The Bishop’s Palace in Brixen contains various decorative items of interest, including tiles representing the labours of Hercules, a painting of the countryside, as grapes are pressed, and tapestries with hunting scenes.
Music Mozart: Piano Concerto No 9 in E flat major, K 271 (Jeunehomme) – II. Andantino
The second movement of the concerto, in C minor, reminds us of the essentially operatic vocal style of much of Mozart’s music. Here, in the first theme, there are obvious affinities to operatic recitative, tragic in cast, with all the deep melancholy that the choice of key implies. The mood changes into E flat major, to be replaced again by the prevailing feeling of sadness.
The Cathedral in Brixen was rebuilt in the years 1745–1754. Its twin towers dominate the central square of the city and the façade is surmounted by a statue of the Blessed Virgin. The nave leads the eye to the ornate high altar, and side altars also display elaborate marble carving. The frescos of the vault above are by Paul Troger, and there are representations of the Dormition and the Annunciation and of St John as writer of the Apocalypse.
Music Mozart: Piano Concerto No 9 in E flat major, K 271 (Jeunehomme) – III. Rondeau: Presto
The feeling of melancholy is quickly dispelled by the opening of the final rondo, although the movement is not without its moments of drama.
Thurnstein Castle • Brunnenburg • Church of St Peter (Gratsch) • Tirol Castle
Castles of the Merano region are seen, standing impressively on heights overlooking the valley below. Brunnenburg Castle was restored by Boris and Mary de Rachewiltz, daughter of Ezra Pound and the violinist Olga Rudge, and is now a centre for Ezra Pound studies. The Church of St Peter at Gratsch is said to have been built by dwarfs, in spite of the efforts of Tirolo giants to destroy it.
Music Mozart: Piano Concerto No 27 in B flat major, K 595 – I. Allegro
Mozart completed his Concerto in B flat major, K 595, on 5 January 1791, and played the concerto at a concert for the clarinet virtuoso Joseph Bähr on 4 March given in a room belonging to the restaurateur Jahn. The concerto is scored for an orchestra without trumpets and drums. After the orchestral exposition the soloist enters with the first subject and goes on to a passage in F minor, before the F major second subject emerges. There is a central development of inventive freedom before the recapitulation, with its composed cadenza.
Tirol Castle and Chapel
Tirolo Castle (Schloss Tirol) was built in the 12th century and by the 14th century had come into the possession of the Habsburgs. It has undergone restoration in recent times. The Chapel has a remarkable series of Romanesque frescos and a doorway with carved grotesque figures. The Castle itself, like other castles in the region, is built in a commanding position, dominating the territories below.
Music Mozart: Piano Concerto No 27 in B flat major, K 595 – II. Larghetto – III. Allegro
The soloist opens the Larghetto, followed by the orchestra, after which the piano adds an extension of the theme in music essentially in the form of a rondo, characterised by the repetition of the main theme between episodes. The last movement has a hunting theme, similar in character to the rondos that end Mozart’s Horn Concertos and closely resembling his setting of Christian Adolf Overbeck’s Sehnsucht nach dem Frühling: Komm, lieber Mai, und mache die Bäume wieder grün, K 596, written on 14 January. The movement has contrasts of mood and key and a bravura element in the brilliant writing for the solo instrument, in music that is at times introspective and always deeply felt. The concerto is comparable to the greatest that Mozart wrote in times of greater optimism, a fitting conclusion to a remarkable series of works.
Jenő Jandó, piano, Concentus Hungaricus conducted by András Ligeti [Naxos 8.550203]
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