About this Recording
2.110542 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - CZECH REPUBLIC: Castles and Towns in Bohemia and Moravia (NTSC)
English 

A Musical Tour of Bohemia and Moravia
With music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

 

CHAPTER 1

Hluboká Castle

Hluboká Castle is an imposing edifice, set on a hill and overlooking the River Vltava. Originally a royal stronghold it was from 1661 until 1939 the property of the Schwarzenberg family under whom it underwent various changes. The present building owes much to Windsor Castle, which served as a model for the rebuilding in neo-Gothic style that took place in the 19th century.

Music Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 1 in D major, K.412 – I. Allegro

Mozart’s Horn Concertos belong to the final period of his life and were written for the Salzburg horn-player Ignaz Leutgeb, a musician who had doubled as a violinist in the Salzburg orchestra, but had appeared in Paris as a horn soloist in concertos of his own composition, when he demonstrated the new technique of hand-stopped notes, the changing of pitch by the insertion of the right hand into the bell of the instrument. Leutgeb had moved to Vienna in 1777, when he had acquired a cheese-shop in the suburbs, according to Leopold Mozart, who had lent him money for the purpose, the size of a snail’s shell. Four years later he had still not repaid the loan, as we learn from one of Mozart’s letters to his father. Mozart remained on the friendliest terms with him, in his own wife’s absence relying on Frau Leutgeb to launder his cravat for him, and playing various jokes on his friend. Something of their relationship can be gathered from the remarks that Mozart included in the autograph of the D major Rondo, and the Allegro in which the horn part is marked Adagio and which continues with abusive remarks directed at the performer. Leutgeb retired from playing in 1792 and died in 1811. The unfinished Horn Concerto in D major was written in 1791, during the last summer of the composer’s life, and revised and completed by Mozart’s pupil Franz Xaver Süssmayr.

CHAPTER 2

Hluboká Castle

The present interior of Hluboká Castle largely follows the reconstruction of the 19th century. The ornamental mouldings in the ceiling of the reception hall are of particular interest, with portraits of earlier members of the Schwarzenberg family.

Music Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 1 in D major, K.412 – II. Rondo: Allegro

Mozart never finished the final rondo of the Horn Concerto in D major, which was completed by Süssmayr in 1792. The whole concerto would also, in due course, have had a slow movement.

CHAPTER 3

Hluboká Castle

Hluboká Castle holds collections of works of art. Another reception room, wood-panelled, has examples of chinoiserie ceramics and Chinese export porcelain.

Music Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 2 in E flat major, K.417 – I. Allegro

The first of the three completed horn concertos by Mozart, the Horn Concerto in E flat major, K.417, bears the date 27th May, 1783, and a dedication to ‘Leitgeb (the Salzburg spelling of the horn-player’s name) Esel, Ochs und Narr’ (Leutgeb, Ass, Ox and Idiot). It is scored for an orchestra of two oboes, two horns and strings. The first movement opens with the usual orchestral exposition, its two themes followed by the entry of the soloist, with material of his own. The short development adds a feeling of greater intensity before the return of the earlier material.

CHAPTER 4

Hluboká Castle

Stained glass casts coloured shadows on the floor and further examples of Chinese ceramics are seen, in the neo-Gothic surroundings of Hluboká Castle.

Music Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 2 in E flat major, K.417 – II. Andante

The slow movement of Horn Concerto No. 2 in E flat major, of which the original autograph has been lost, makes very little use of the other wind instruments, which appear only at the beginning and end of the movement, and to mark the conclusion of the first section.

CHAPTER 5

Konopištĕ Castle

Konopištĕ Castle had its origins in the 13th century but was variously restored and remodelled over the years. In the late 19th century it became the residence of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination was one of the immediate causes of the 1914–18 war. The castle is full of hunting trophies and has a collection of weapons in its armoury.

Music Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 2 in E flat major, K.417 – III. Rondo: Allegro

The other wind instruments return in the hunting rondo, with its characteristically ebullient principal theme, that ends Horn Concerto No. 2 in E flat.

CHAPTER 6

Telč and Telč Castle

Telč, in Southern Moravia, is one of the most picturesque towns in the Czech Republic. The town square, largely dating from the 16th century, when the houses were rebuilt after a disastrous fire, finds a place for religious wall paintings and statues.

Music Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 3 in E flat major, K.447 – I. Allegro

Mozart’s second completed concerto, Horn Concerto No. 3 in E flat major, K.447, has been convincingly dated to 1787, although some prefer an earlier date. It is scored for an orchestra of pairs of clarinets, bassoons and horns, with strings, and follows the now customary form, making even greater demands on the virtuosity of the soloist, shown to advantage in an improvised cadenza.

CHAPTER 7

Telč and Telč Castle

Telč has a fine 15th century church and near the town square is a palace, a transformation of the original fortress into a Renaissance-style building, erected in the 16th century.

Music Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 3 in E flat major, K.447 – II. Romance: Larghetto

Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 3 in E flat major has a central slow movement, its principal melody introduced by the soloist and then taken up by the strings.

CHAPTER 8

Telč and Telč Castle

The owners of Telč Castle who saw to its restoration were influenced by visits to Italy, the inspiration for the new building.

Music Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 3 in E flat major, K.447 – III. Allegro

The concerto ends with the customary rousing hunting rondo, a form and mood that suits the horn particularly well.

CHAPTER 9

Czech countryside and Vranov Castle

Overlooking the Dyje valley in Southern Moravia stands the castle of Vranov, originally a fortress and then adapted as a residence.

Music Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 4 in E flat major, K.495 – I. Allegro maestoso

In the index of his compositions that Mozart had begun to compile in Vienna the third completed concerto, Horn Concerto No. 4 in E flat major, K.495, is dated 26th June, 1786, and described as ‘Ein Waldhorn Konzert für den Leitgeb’. The surviving pages of the autograph are written in different coloured inks—red, green, blue and black—a fact that some have chosen to see as a joke and others, no doubt rightly, as a code giving an indication of the dynamics.

CHAPTER 10

Czech countryside and Vranov Castle

The sun gradually sets over the countryside and night falls.

Music Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 4 in E flat major, K.495 – II. Romance: Andante cantabile

The autograph of the slow movement of the concerto makes use of all four colours.

CHAPTER 11

Czech countryside and Vranov Castle

The interior of Vranov Castle shows an elegant baroque residence. Outside are the statues of Hercules wrestling with Antaeus and of Aeneas carrying his father Anchises from the burning city of Troy.

Music Mozart: Horn Concerto No. 4 in E flat major, K.495 – III. Rondo: Allegro vivace

The final Rondo is written only in red and black and brings the work to a cheerful and rousing conclusion.


Keith Anderson

 

Recording

Mozart: Horn Concertos. Miloš Števove, French Horn, Capella Istropolitana conducted by Jozef Kopelman [Naxos 8.550148]


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