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2.110241 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - SWITZERLAND: From Zürich to Zermatt (NTSC)

A Musical Tour of Switzerland
With music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart



Zürich • Regensberg • Lake Zürich (Zürichsee)

The capital of its canton, Zürich is the most important city in Switzerland, the centre of its financial activities. Originally a Helvetian settlement, it was occupied by the Romans in 58 BC. At one time noted for its silk, Zürich has undergone varied industrial development. The city lies at the north-west of the great lake, the Zürichsee, and is first seen from above, and then closer, with its characteristic traditional buildings and more modern monuments to its financial prosperity. Regensberg, a hill-top village, lies some six miles or so to the south-west of Zürich and is seen with its typical Swiss houses. The Zürichsee, which stretches some 24 miles, with a width of up to three miles at its widest, is a place for wild birds, and swans are seen, as the sun sets and night falls.


Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 1 in B flat major, K.207 – I. Allegro moderato

Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in B flat major, K. 207, was written in the spring of 1773. The years from 1773 to 1777 found Mozart involved in particular with violin music. In later years in Vienna he was to concentrate his attention as a performer on the keyboard, leading his violinist father to reproach him for not practising the violin, as he once would have done. His five concertos, written between 1773 and 1775, were designed either for his own use as a player or for the Court Music Director, Court Violinist and Court Concertmaster Antonio Brunetti, and there were also competent amateur players in Salzburg who welcomed these concertos. The first of Mozart’s concertos for the violin is scored for the usual orchestra, with pairs of oboes and horns and the customary body of strings. The first movement starts with an orchestral exposition,leading to the entry of the soloist with the first theme, followed by more elaborate material. [Recording (all works) by Takako Nishizaki, violin, with Johannes Wildner conducting Capella Istropolitana, from Naxos 8.550414]


The Emmental • Lake Thun (Thuner See) • Lauterbrunnen

The Emmental is a valley some 25 miles long and well known for its dairy-farming and its cheese. Traditional painted wooden houses are seen amid the green fields. The Thuner See, nearly twelve miles in length and up to two miles across at its widest, offers views of the snow-capped mountains of the Blümlisalp. It is possible to cross the lake by boat. The Lauterbrunnen Valley, set between towering mountains, is known for its waterfalls, and particularly the magnificent Staubbach, descending a sheer cliff-face of over a hundred feet.


Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 1 in B flat major, K.207 – II. Adagio

The slow movement of the concerto starts with an orchestral introduction leading to the entry of the soloist with a melody of particular grace. As with the first movement, there is a place for a cadenza, before the final bars.


St Gallen • Appenzell

St Gallen, the capital of its canton, developed round a famous abbey, well known in the Middle Ages as a centre of learning. It takes its name from an Irish missionary of the 7th century, St Gallus. The cathedral, formerly the abbey church, acquired its present form in the 18th century. The Historical Museum contains reconstructed rooms, with furniture of earlier periods, and there are rooms containing statuary and paintings. A light railway leads from St Gallen to Appenzell, capital of the Inner Rhoden of the canton of Appenzell, a place that takes its name from its earlier history as the country residence of the abbot of St Gallen. The houses are in characteristically picturesque style.

From nearby settlements there are lifts up to the surrounding heights.


Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 1 in B flat major, K.207 – III. Presto

The orchestra introduces the final movement, leading to a more elaborate solo entry and continuing with a framework for a series of solo episodes.


Zermatt and the Matterhorn

Zermatt itself is a popular resort for skiers. Above towers the Matterhorn, a pyramid of rock that has challenged climber after climber. The summit of the Matterhorn was first reached in 1865 by Edward Whymper, Lord Francis Douglas, the Reverend Charles Hudson and Douglas Hadow, with the guides Michel-Auguste Croz and Peter Taugwalder. Hadow slipped while making his descent, dragging Douglas, Hudson and Croz to their deaths, when their rope broke. The body of Lord Francis Douglas was never recovered.


Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 2 in D major, K.211 – I. Allegro moderato

Mozart completed his Violin Concerto in D major, K. 211, on 14 June 1775. Like the preceding concerto, it is scored for pairs of oboes and horns, with the usual body of strings. The first movement starts with a descending arpeggio figure proclaimed by the whole orchestra. The same theme, an octave higher, marks the start of the solo entry, developing the material before embarking on the subsidiary theme.


Zermatt and Mountain Guides

Zermatt has grown into a popular resort for mountaineers and for skiers. At one end of the village street are the older wooden chalets. The place holds the graves of a number of climbers who have died in their attempts on the Matterhorn, and other souvenirs of early climbers are preserved.


Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 2 in D major, K.211 – II. Andante

The principal melody of the slow movement is given first to the orchestra, before the solo entry with the same theme, later to be elaborated.


Trip from Zermatt to Gornergrat

A rack railway ascends from Zermatt first to the Riffelberg, past the English Trinity Church and halts at Riffelberg and Rotenboden, before finally reaching Gornergrat, which provides fine views of the Matterhorn and other snow-capped peaks.


Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 2 in D major, K.211 – III. Rondeau: Allegro

The soloist elegantly leads the way into the final Rondeau, introducing a movement in the form suggested by its title, with the principal theme returning to provide a frame for succeeding episodes.


Zermatt in Summer

In summer Zermatt offers a different aspect. The snows have diminished and green fields provide a change of scene. The melting of the snow produces water, swelling rivers and spectacular waterfalls.


Mozart: Andante in B flat major (transcribed by Camille Saint-Saëns from Piano Concerto No. 21, K.467)

The 19th-century French composer Camille Saint-Saëns transcribed the slow movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467, for violin, providing an interesting addition to solo violin repertoire.

Keith Anderson

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