About this Recording
8.550867 - Mozart Concert in Vienna

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)

Aus der Oper "Le nozze di Figaro", KV 492
From the opera The Marriage of Figaro, K. 492
Arie des Figaro/Figaro's Aria:
"Non più andrai"

Aus der Oper "Le nozze di Figaro", KV 492
From the opera The Marriage of Figaro, K. 492
Arie der Susanna/Susanna's Aria
"Deh vieni non tardar"

Aus der Oper "Le nozze di Figaro", KV 492
From the opera The Marriage of Figaro, K. 492
Duett Graf-Susanna/Duet of the Count and Susanna:
"Crudel! perche finora"

Konzert für Klavier, A-Dur, KV 488
Piano Concerto in A Major, K. 488
2. Adagio
3. Allegroassai

Symphonie Nr. 40, g-moll, KV 550
Symphony No.40 in G minor, K. 550
1. Molto allegro

Aus der Oper "Die Zauberflöte", KV 620
From the opera The Magic Flute, K. 620
Arie der Königin der Nacht/Aria of the Queen of the Night
"Der Hölle Rache"

Posthorn-Serenade, KV 320
6. Menuetto

Konzert für Klarinette, A-Dur, KV 622
Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622
2. Adagio

Aus der Oper "Die Zauberflöte", KV 620
From the opera The Magic Flute, K. 620
Arie des Papageno/Papageno's Aria
"Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja"

Duett Papageno -Papagena/Duet of Papageno and Papagena

Symphonie Nr. 35, "Haffner", KV 385
Symphony No.35, "Haffner", K. 385
4, Finale: Presto

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756, the son of a court musician who, in the year of his youngest child's birth, published an influential book on violin-playing. Leopold Mozart rose to occupy the position of Vice-Kapellmeister to the Archbishop of Salzburg, but sacrificed his own creative career to that of his son, in whom he detected early signs of precocious genius. With the indulgence of his patron, he was able to undertake extended concert tours of Europe in which his son and his eider sister Nannerl were able to astonish audiences. The boy played both the keyboard and the violin and could improvise and soon write down his own compositions.

Childhood that had brought signal success was followed by a less satisfactory period of adolescence largely in Salzburg, under the patronage of a new and less sympathetic Archbishop. Mozart, like his father, found opportunities far too limited at home, while chances of travel were now restricted. In 1777, when leave of absence was not granted, he gave up employment in Salzburg to seek a future elsewhere, but neither Mannheim nor Paris, both musical centres of some importance, had anything for him. His Mannheim connections, however, brought a commission for an opera in Munich in 1781, and after its successful staging he was summoned by his patron to Vienna. There his dissatisfaction with his position and the denial of opportunities for advancement resulted in a quarrel with the Archbishop and dismissal from his service.

The last ten years of Mozart's life were spent in Vienna in precarious independence of both patron and immediate paternal advice, a situation aggravated by an imprudent marriage. Initial success in the opera-house and as a performer was followed, as the decade went on, by increasing financial difficulties. Yet this was the period of his greatest achievement, in the theatre, in chamber music and in the series of piano concertos he wrote for his own performance and his final symphonies. In 1791 things seemed about to take a turn for the better, in spite of the lack of interest at the court of the new Emperor. Prague commissioned a coronation opera, La clemenza di Tito, and with the actor-manager Emanuel Schikaneder there was a new and successful German opera for Vienna, The Magic Flute, both works staged in the autumn. Mozart died after a short illness early in December.

The opera Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), based by the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte on a controversial French play by Beaumarchais, was first staged at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 1st May 1786 and won sufficient immediate success to allow nine performances, although public opinion was divided on the merits of the work, appreciated, as always, by the connoisseurs in the audience. Performances in Prague towards the end of the year were greeted with the greatest enthusiasm, and when Mozart arrived in the city early in 1787 he found the music whistled in the streets and serving to accompany dancing at fashionable balls.

The sparkling Overture sets the tone of the comedy that is to follow, in which the man-servant Figaro and his betrothed, Susanna, outwit Count Almaviva in his designs on the latter. In his aria Non più andrai, farfallone amoroso (No more, adventurous lover), Figaro makes fun of the amorous page Cherubino, would-be lover of the Countess, who is to be packed off by the Count to join the army. Susanna's Deh vieni non tardar (Oh come, don't delay) comes in the fourth act of the opera, when Susanna plans her own revenge on Figaro for his unjustified jealousy, in a scene set in a garden at night, where the complexities of the plot increase, as an attempt is made to embarrass the Count. The duet Crudel! perché finora (Cruel! Why make me suffer?) opens the third act, with the Count urging his claims on a reluctant Susanna, who now, unaccountably, seems to agree to his request. Susanna and the Countess have, in fact, resolved to trick the Count into an assignation with the disguised Countess herself.

The German opera Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) was staged in the autumn of 1791 and was running at the time of Mozart's final illness and death. The opera, which makes considerable use of masonic symbolism, a token of Mozart's own membership of the brotherhood, pits dark against light, the powers of darkness represented by the wicked Queen of the Night, mother of the heroine, Pamina. The Queen of the Night expresses her animosity against her former consort, the noble Sarastro, and in a brilliant coloratura aria Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen (The wrath of Hell seethes in my heart) commands her daughter to murder her foe. Comedy in the opera is provided by the bird-catcher Papageno, who announces his trade in his opening song, Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja (A bird-catcher I), and later finds his own loving partner in a similarly feather-decked partner Papagena. The two stutter their love for each other in the duet Pa-pa-papageno.

The last ten years of Mozart's life brought not only the great operas but a magnificent series of piano concertos, intended principally for his own use in winter subscription concerts. The A major Concerto, K. 488, was completed on 2nd March in 1786, the year of The Marriage of Figaro, and is given a particular poignancy by its use of clarinets instead of oboes in its scoring. Clarinets were later added to the scoring of the Symphony No.40 in G minor, the second of the last three symphonies, written in the space of a few weeks in the summer of 1788. The clarinet was, at the time, a relatively new orchestral instrument, establishing itself in Vienna in good part through the abilities of the Stadler brothers. It was for Anton Stadler, who had developed a new form of clarinet of extended range, that Mozart wrote his Clarinet Concerto, K. 622, in the final year of his life, completing it in October 1791.

The so-called Haffner Symphony, which includes both oboes and clarinets, as well as trumpets and drums in its scoring, was originally intended as a Serenade for a celebration in the Haffner family in Salzburg, for whom Mozart had written an earlier Serenade in 1776. Reduced to four movements, on the usual symphonic pattern, and completed in 1782, it provided a suitable vehicle to mark the elevation of Mozart's contemporary, Sigmund Haffner, to the nobility. Haffner did not enjoy his honour long, but died in 1787.

While the Haffner Symphony was written in Vienna to discharge a family obligation in Salzburg, the so-called Posthorn Serenade, K. 320, was written in Salzburg towards the end of Mozart's time there. The sixth movement Minuet has two trios, in the second of which the post-horn makes its appearance.

The Vienna Mozart Orchestra
The Vienna Mozart Orchestra was founded in 1986 by young musicians from various orchestras and chamber ensembles in Vienna with the aim of performing music from the Viennese Classical Period, with particular emphasis on the music of Mozart. The Orchestra has in its repertoire all the symphonies of Mozart and the various concertos for violin, piano and wind instruments. A special feature of concerts given by the Vienna Mozart Orchestra is the use of historical costumes by the players and the presentation of programmes very much in the style of the academies or concerts of Mozart's time, in which movements of symphonies might be interspersed with operatic arias.

Konrad Leitner
Konrad Leitner studied in Vienna and his first engagement was with the Vienna State Opera. He has served as an assistant at the Salzburg and Bayreuth Festivals and in the former as accompanist in song recitals. He enjoys a busy career as a conductor at home and abroad, including work for radio and for television. Since 1987 he has been employed as a conductor by the Vienna Volksoper, where he has directed The Merry Widow, Tiefland, Gasparone and The Magic Flute, with the first and last of these at the State Opera during the summer season. In 1989 he conducted performances of The Merry Widow and The Gypsy Baron in Japan and in 1990 he conducted Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail in Marrakesh. He has served as conductor and pianist with the Vienna Mozart Orchestra since 1986 and in 1988 toured with the orchestra in Japan.

Donna Robin
Donna Robin has enjoyed a varied career in the opera-house and in the concert-hall, with a repertoire ranging from the Baroque to the 20th century. She studied in Los Angeles with Elisabeth Parham and after winning the Loren Zachary International Competition in 1975 sang Zerbinetta at Graz Opera in the original version of the Richard Strauss opera Ariadne auf Naxos staged there. Since then she has appeared at the opera-houses of Düsseldorf, Dresden, East Berlin, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Barcelona, Los Angeles and New York, and at the Vienna State Opera. She has appeared in concert performances in Europe with Heinz Holliger, Sir Neville Marriner, Christoph von Dohnányi and many other distinguished Conductors. Donna Robin is well known for her performances in Mozart operas and has appeared on more than a hundred occasions with the Vienna Mozart Orchestra in Austria and in Japan. She is married to the composer, violinist and conductor Rene Staar.

Andrea Martin
The baritone Andrea Martin studied in Vienna and in Rome under the most distinguished teachers and began his operatic career in Austria with the Vienna Chamber Opera in Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Graz, and in Germany in Hagen and Munich. He appeared as Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale in Treviso in 1979 and after winning various prizes in international competitions sang at the major Italian opera-houses, appearing abroad in Barcelona, Lisbon, Paris and the United States of America. His career has brought appearances in North and South America and in the Far East and his many less usual recordings include roles in operas by Donizetti and Salieri.

Gerald Grünbacher
Gerald Grünbacher was born in Upper Austria in 1957 and had his first clarinet lessons from his father at the age of twelve. He made his first concert appearance as a soloist in 1976 and the following year won first prize in the Austrian Youth Music Competition in the clarinet and chamber music divisions. After study in Vienna with Peter Schmidl, in 1980 he was engaged by the Austrian Bundestheater, on the basis of a successful audition with the State Opera and in the following years played with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in over 300 concerts. He enjoys an active career as a member of the Vienna Wind Octet, with which he has appeared at home and abroad. He has served with the Vienna Mozart Orchestra since its foundation in 1986 and since 1987 has been a member of the Thalia Schrammeln, an ensemble that specialises in Austrian folk-music.

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