About this Recording
8.550186 - MOZART: Symphonies Nos. 34, 35 and 39

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)

Symphony No.34 in C major, K. 338
Symphony No.35 in D major, K. 395 'Haffner'
Symphony No.39 in E flat major, K. 543

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756, the youngest and second surviving child of Leopold Mozart, a violinist and composer in the service of the ruling Archbishop. The boy's phenomenal musical ability was apparent at an early age and his father devoted himself to fostering a talent that he regarded as a gift of God. With his elder sister Anna-Maria, known in the family as Nannerl to his own Wolferl, the young Mozart travelled widely, under the close guidance of his father, playing in many of the major cities of Europe before kings and queans, and for the curious.

Childhood which had brought great success to Mozart as an infant prodigy was followed by adolescence in which he found himself increasingly tied to Salzburg, where opportunities were limited and where the accession of a new Archbishop of reformist tendencies proved still more oppressive. In 1777, when permission to travel was refused the family, Mozart, accompanied only by his mother, who was to die on the journey, set out for Paris, having resigned his position at the archiepiscopal court. Visits to Munich and in particular to Mannheim, with its famous orchestra, broadened his musical experience and his acquaintance, but brought no offer of employment. Paris proved equally disappointing, and in 1778 he made his slow return alone to Salzburg, to be grudgingly reinstated as a member of the Archbishop's musical establishment.

Early in 1781 his opera Idomeneo, commissioned for Munich, was successfully mounted, and Mozart went from there to Vienna to join his patron. The imperial capital seemed to offer every opportunity, but the demands of the Archbishop prevented Mozart from making use of the chances for prestige and profit that were there. A quarrel resulted in ignominious dismissal and a subsequent career without adequate patronage but with considerable initial success in Vienna, where he could no longer rely on the presence of his father, who remained in Salzburg as Vice-Kapellmeister, a position he occupied until his death in 1787. Mozart's marriage to a girl without fortune did nothing to improve matters, as Vienna became used to his presence and financial difficulties grew. His earlier success in the opera-house seemed about to be renewed with the German opera The Magic Flute, staged in a suburban theatre in 1791, when he died, after a short illness, the cause of which has given rise to much romantic speculation.

Mozart wrote his first symphonies during the fifteen months he spent in London in 1764 and 1765, occupying himself in this way during his father's illness which had forced the family to move to lodgings in Chelsea. These early works naturally show the influence of Johann Christian Bach, whom he had met in London. The last three symphonies were written in Vienna during the summer of 1788 at a time when he found himself in some financial difficulty and were presumably intended for use in concerts planned for the coming season, although no such concerts in fact took place.

Symphony No.34 in C major, K. 338, was completed in Salzburg on 29th August 1780. There is no certain evidence of its performance in Mozart's life-time, but it was probably the symphony played at the first of the composer's concerts at the Augarten in Vienna in May 1782. It is in three movements, although a Minuet had originally been intended, to be abandoned after a few bars. Scoring is for pairs of oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets and drums, with the usual strings.

Haffner Symphony was written in Vienna in 1782 and is scored for pairs of oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets, drums, and strings, to which Mozart later added flutes and clarinets in the outer movements. The work was commissioned for the elevation to the nobility of Sigmund Haffner in Salzburg and was in the form of a serenade, with two Minuet movements and a March. The additional instruments and the four movement form were designed for later use in Vienna. The whole composition was hurried, the commission coming at a time when Mozart was enjoying the success of his first Vienna opera, Die Entf├╝hrung aus dem Serail, and arranging the work for wind band before anyone else could profit from such an arrangement. It was in late July that he sought his father's permission to marry Constanze Weber. The marriage took place on 4th August, presenting Leopold Mozart with a fait accompli.

The Symphony in E flat major, K. 543, is the first of the last three that Mozart wrote and was completed on 26th June 1788, the day before a letter to his fellow freemason Michael Puchberg thanking him for money lent and asking for patience over its repayment. With all the confidence and optimism of a Mr. Micawber he asks, at the same time, for a larger sum for a longer period, a request that Puchberg had the sense to reject. The E flat Symphony is scored for one flute, pairs of clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets and drums, and strings.

Capella Istropolitana
The Capella Istropolitana was founded in 1983 by members of the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, at first as a chamber orchestra and then as an orchestra large enough to tackle the standard classical repertoire. Based in Bratislava, its name drawn from the ancient name still preserved in the Academia Istropolitana, the historic university established in the Slovak and one-time Hungarian capital by Matthias Corvinus, the orchestra works principally in the recording studio. Recordings by the orchestra on the Naxoslabel include The Best of Baroque Music, Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, fifteen each of Mozart's and Haydn's symphonies as well as works by Handel, Vivaldi and Telemann.

Barry Wordsworth
Barry Wordsworth's career has been dominated by his work for the Royal Ballet which started when he played the solo part in Frank Martin's Harpsichord Concerto, which was the score used by Sir Kenneth MacMillan for his ballet, Las Hermanas. In 1973 he became Assistant Conductor of the Royal Ballet's Touring Orchestra and in 1974 Principal Conductor of Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet. He made his debut at Covent Garden conducting MacMillan's Manon in 1975 and since then has conducted there frequently. He has toured extensively with the Royal Ballet, conducting orchestras in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Canada and Australia, where he has been guest conductor for Australian Ballet.

In 1987 while retaining his connection with both Royal Ballet companies as guest conductor, Barry Wordsworth also worked with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the Phliharmonia, the Ulster Orchestra, the BBC Concert and the London Philharmonic Orchestras. He also continued to work with New Sadlers Wells Opera, with whom he has recorded excerpts from Kalman's Countess Maritza and Lehar's The Count of Luxembourg and The Merry Widow. For the Naxos label Wordsworth recorded a number of Mozart and Haydn symphonies, works by Smetana and Dvorak and for the Marco Polo label works by Bax.

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