About this Recording
2.110335 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - AUSTRIA: Hohenwerfen / Weissensee / Styria / Linz / Aggstein / Hallein / Baden (NTSC)
English 

A Musical Visit to Austria: Hohenwerfen, Weissensee, Styria, Linz, Aggstein, Hallein and Baden
With music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

 

CHAPTER 1

Hohenwerfen Castle and Landscape

The forbidding castle of Hohenwerfen stands overlooking the peaceful valley of the Salzach. The fortress was built between 1075 and 1078 by the Archbishop of Salzburg as one of three such defensive fortifications. In later years it underwent military attack, served as a prison, was largely restored in the 16th century and suffered damage from fire in 1931, after which it underwent further restoration. It came under Salzburg administration in 1938 and is nowadays also known as a centre for displays of falconry.

Music Mozart: Violin Concerto No 5 in A major, K 219 – I. Allegro aperto – Adagio – Allegro aperto

Mozart’s five violin concertos date from 1775. He now served as Konzertmeister at Salzburg, where his father Leopold was Vice-Kapellmeister. While Leopold had a degree of security in his position, in a very uncertain world, Mozart was impatient for other things and two years later was allowed to resign to seek his fortune elsewhere, a quest that proved unsuccessful. By 1779 he was back in Salzburg, reinstated, at his father's urgent request, in the court musical establishment. It was not until 1781 that he finally secured his dismissal, to spend the last ten years of his life in precarious independence in Vienna. His violin concertos remained in occasional repertoire in Salzburg, while Leopold Mozart, no longer able to exert direct control over his son, urged him to practise his violin. The Concerto in A Major, K 219, opens with the customary orchestral exposition, followed unexpectedly by an Adagio entry for the soloist, the first two notes poised perilously over an abyss of orchestral silence, before the murmur of the moving orchestral accompaniment is heard. This is a prelude to the soloist's own version of the Allegro, and subsequent development and recapitulation, with a solo cadenza.

CHAPTER 2

Weissensee

The Weissensee is a high valley lake in Carinthia, a popular summer and winter resort, surrounded by the Carinthian countryside. The lake itself set among towering mountains.

Music Mozart: Violin Concerto No 5 in A major, K 219 – II. Adagio

The slow movement allows the solo violin to repeat and complete the opening theme, while the middle section offers a contrast of theme and key.

CHAPTER 3

Styria (Steiermark): Landscape

Styria, in German Steiermark, is one of the autonomous provinces of Austria. Its countryside, with farming land and livestock, was once a holiday destination for Schubert and his friends.

Music Mozart: Violin Concerto No 5 in A major, K 219 – III. Tempo di Menuetto

The final movement is in the speed, at least of a Minuet and in the form of a rondo, one of its contrasting episodes an example of what passed for “Turkish” music in Austria in the late 18th century, a fashionable piece of exoticism.

CHAPTER 4

Linz

The capital of Upper Austria, Linz still preserves something of its charm in the old city, centred on the Hauptplatz, with its traditional houses and the Trinity Column, erected in 1723. Musical connections with Linz include a symphony by Mozart, written during a visit to the city, and Anton Bruckner, who was organist at Linz Cathedral for a dozen years. The city lies on the banks of the Danube.

Music Mozart: Violin Concerto No 3 in G major, K 216 – I. Allegro

Mozart’s Violin Concerto in G major, K 216, shares the greater popularity of the last three of the series. The opening Allegro offers an orchestral exposition in which the principal themes are declared, the first of them having already appeared in the opera Il re pastore. The soloist repeats the principal theme and by means of new material leads to the second subject, both duly developed and re-established in the final section of the movement.

CHAPTER 5

The Danube • Ruins at Aggstein

The Danube passes through a varying landscape, as it makes its way through the Austrian countryside. Above its south bank stand the ruins of the fortress of Aggstein, once a Kuenringer stronghold but in 1295 destroyed by Albrecht I. It was rebuilt in the 15th century, but over the years fell into ruin.

Music Mozart: Violin Concerto No 3 in G major, K 216 – II. Adagio

The D major Adagio is an assured example of Mozart’s handling of the solo violin cantilena, a finely sustained violin melody, to which the orchestra provides a subtle foil.

CHAPTER 6

Hallein • Baden bei Wien Kurpark

The old town of Hallein had its historic importance in the treatment of salt from nearby mines. It has a number of fine houses dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Baden, near Vienna, has a direct asssociation with Mozart, whose wife Constanze spent time here, taking the waters, and was in Baden during the final summer of her husband's life. His association with Baden is commemorated in the Mozart Temple. Other composers remembered in the park are Lanner and Johann Strauss, famous for their dance orchestras. The Kurpark also contains a statue of the water-nymph Undine, made immortal through Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué and depicted here in a fountain.

Music Mozart: Violin Concerto No 3 in G major, K 216 – III. Rondeau: Allegro

The final rondo has a profusion of varied ideas in its contrasting episodes, which include a courtly dance and a less urbane folk-dance before the final re-appearance of the principal theme.

Keith Anderson

Recordings

Takako Nishizaki, violin, Capella Istropolitana cond Stephen Gunzenhauser [Concerto No 3 Naxos 8.553232Concerto No 5 Naxos 8.571045]


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