About this Recording
2.110307 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - GERMANY: A Musical Visit to Nuremberg (NTSC)
English 

A Musical Visit to Nuremberg
With music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

 

CHAPTER 1

Museum Bridge and Heilig-Geist-Spital

The Museum Bridge, which was restored in 1954, crosses the river Pegnitz that flows through Nuremberg and from it can be seen the Heilig-Geist-Spital, founded in the 14th century, enlarged in the 15th, largely destroyed in the 20th and rebuilt, preserving the tower and north wall. Among the churches of the city is the 13th century Sebalduskirche, with its twin Gothic spires, and the Lorenzkirche.

Music Mozart: Violin Sonata in B flat major, K. 378 – I. Allegro moderato

Mozart wrote his Sonata in B flat major, K. 378, in 1779, after his return to Salzburg from the abortive journey to Mannheim and Paris in search of a position that would give wider scope to his gifts. It was the earliest of the sonatas to be included in Artaria’s published set of Opus 11 in 1781. The sonata is in the usual form, the violin sharing equally in the work, although the published title still advertises Sonatas pour le Clavecin ou Pianoforte avec L’accompagnement d’un Violon, indicating the changes taking place in choice of keyboard instrument, and in fact, if not in title, a change in the status of the violin in works of this kind. The opening Allegro moderato brings the principal theme at first on the keyboard, followed by the violin. Something of the same procedure is followed in the introduction of the second subject, with an increase in dramatic tension through the subsequent choices of key. The development makes use of those wide leaps on the violin that characterise certain writing of the period, echoed by a similar use of the keyboard.

CHAPTER 2

Ehebrunnen (Marriage Fountain)

The Marriage Fountain, also known as the Ehekaroussell (Marriage Merry-Go-Round) or the Hans-Sachs-Brunnen (Hans Sachs Fountain) was installed in 1984, masking an air-shaft for the underground railway. The work of Jürgen Weber, it depicts the joys and sorrows of marriage as described in verses by Hans Sachs, the 16th century poet, mastersinger and shoemaker, the central figure in Wagner’s opera The Mastersingers of Nuremberg. The words of the poem are inscribed on the fountain.

Music Mozart: Violin Sonata in B flat major, K. 378 – II. Andantino sostenuto e cantabile

The principal theme of the slow movement, entrusted to the violin on its reappearance, frames a central section of greater tension, moving briefly away form the key of E flat in which it is set.

CHAPTER 3

Food

Nuremberg is famous for its own particular types of food, especially Bratwurst and at Christmas Lebküchen. Here we see sausage and sauerkraut served, and the creation of a characteristic Nuremberg confection is shown.

Music Mozart: Violin Sonata in B flat major, K. 378 – III. Rondeau: Allegro

The final Rondeau has a principal theme based on the notes of the arpeggio, framing one episode in G minor and a second in an energetic triplet rhythm before the return of the opening theme played in imitation by keyboard and violin.

CHAPTER 4

Kaiserburg

The Kaiserburg, the Imperial Castle, was built between the 12th and 16th centuries, and includes in its complex the Burggräflicher Burg (Burgrave’s Castle), the residence of the Governor, stables and fortifications. The Kaiserburg was damaged by bombing in 1944/45 and restored after the war.

Music Mozart: Violin Sonata in F major, K.376 – I. Allegro

By the summer of 1781 Mozart’s circumstances had undergone a considerable change. Neither Paris nor Mannheim had provided him with honourable court employment, but Salzburg remained depressingly narrow, while his employer, Archbishop Hieronymus von Colloredo, had always proved intensely unsympathetic to Mozart’s aspirations. Finally, in June 1781, during the course of a visit by the Archbishop and members of his household to Vienna, Mozart secured his dismissal, unofficially, ignominiously but effectively. He proceeded to try to establish himself in the Imperial capital in independence, relying on the fickle tastes and loyalties of the Viennese public. The Sonata in F Major, K. 376, was the early fruit of this independence and was published, together with five other sonatas for clavier and violin, in Vienna in December 1781, described by the publisher Artaria as the composer’s Opus 11. The publication carried a dedication to the pianist Josepha von Auernhammer, Mozart’s pupil, who had, it seems, unsuccessfully set her cap at her teacher. He described her in a letter to his father as a suitable model for any artist who wanted to paint the Devil to the life, a woman all too ready to display her more than ample charms. He regarded her father, however, as the best of men, and certainly he had exerted himself to offer help to Mozart in these first days of the latter’s independence. The sonata, which was to be followed immediately by another in the same key, takes still further the interweaving of keyboard and violin, both performing an essential musical function in a dialogue, rather than a mere alternation of thematic material. The first movement, an Allegro, opens with three chords that summon the attention of the listener, followed by a theme entrusted principally to the keyboard, the instrument that announces the opening of the second subject. The short development presents something of this material in a new light, before the return of the three opening chords and the recapitulation of the first section of the movement.

CHAPTER 5

City

The houses of the older part of the city are characteristic in their half-timbering and painted plaster. By the Tiergärtnertor the house of Albecht Dürer is preserved and there is a statue in honour of his residence in the town in the early 16th century.

Music Mozart: Violin Sonata in F major, K.376 – II. Andante

The Andante, in B flat, again allows the keyboard to present the principal theme, with a running violin accompaniment, before rôles are reversed, and the principal melody makes its appearance in another key.

CHAPTER 6

Frauenkirche

The Church of Our Lady, the Frauenkirche, was built in the 14th century, a Gothic building with a richly ornamented façade. At mid-day the figures of the Männleinlaufen emerge, a representation of the seven Electors paying homage to the Emperor Charles IV, commemorating the 1509 Golden Bull promulgated as the first Imperial Diet met in Nuremberg.

Music Mozart: Violin Sonata in F major, K.376 – III. Rondeau: Allegretto grazioso

The Rondeau offers a cheerful change of mood, replete, as it is, with the kind of music that was to win Mozart such initial popularity in the opera house of Vienn

CHAPTER 7

Fruit and Vegetable Market

The market, in the square known as the Hauptmarkt, has a rich display of produce, set in front of the Frauenkirche.

Music Mozart: Violin Sonata in C major, K. 296 – I. Allegro vivace

The Sonata for Clavier and Violin in C major, K. 296, was written in Mannheim and completed on 11 March 1778, three days before Mozart and his mother left for Paris. The other sonatas composed in Mannheim are dedicated to Elisabeth, wife of the Elector Karl Theodor, but the Sonata in C major, K. 296, was dedicated originally to the daughter of Mozart’s landlord, the Mannheim court official Serrarius, and was published in Vienna in 1781. In style, violin and keyboard share the musical interest, the former not merely an optional accompaniment, as in Mozart’s early sonatas. The first movement, marked Allegro vivace, is in the established form for such movements, with a second subject that combines two thematic elements, played alternately by the two instruments. The brief development, which opens with material from the earlier part of the movement, introduces a degree of dramatic tension before the return of the first subject.

CHAPTER 8

Toy Museum

Nuremberg has a long tradition of toy-making, commemorated in the remarkable Toy Museum (Spielzeugmuseum), established in 1971, which attracts enormous numbers of visitors to its historical collection of exhibits, ranging here from the perpetual motion of the mechanical device seen outside to a charming merry-go-round.

Music Mozart: Violin Sonata in C major, K. 296 – II. Andante sostenuto

The slow movement is in the key of F major and allows the keyboard chief melodic interest in the opening section, a task shared more equitably when the theme re-appears after a contrasting middle section.

CHAPTER 9

Toy Museum

Mechanical toys are displayed in the extensive galleries of the Museum, which builds on an old Nuremberg tradition, extended now to the important Toy Fair and to a Museum containing exhibits from remoter antiquity to the present.

Music Mozart: Violin Sonata in C major, K. 296 – III. Rondeau: Allegro

In the concluding Rondeau the violin at first accompanies the principal theme. Intervening episodes in G major and A minor lead to F major, before the original theme returns, preceded by the second theme now in the key of C major.


Keith Anderson

 

Recording Takako Nishizaki, Violin, Wolf Harden, Piano [Naxos 8.550065]


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