FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN
Concert in G major for harpsichord and orchestra Hob. XVIII:4
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Cassation in B flat major K 99
La Scuola de’ Gelosi: Ouverture
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Symphony n. 19 in E flat major K 132
Opera Carlo Felice Genova Orchestra
The program for this installment of the Mozart l’italiano concert series focuses in particular on two of Mozart’s early compositions, the Cassation K. 99 and the Symphony K. 132, which are juxtaposed with two pieces by as many eighteenth-century greats, Haydn and Salieri.
The Concerto in G major for harpsichord and orchestra Hob. XVIII:4 was composed by Haydn in the 1770s. While Haydn’s writing echoes the eighteenth-century stylistic features of the harpsichord concerto, with the important presence of the basso continuo and the formal structure in three movements fast – slow – fast, the first signs of an evolution are visible. Indeed, it seems that the interpretation of the concerto can be equally effectively entrusted to the harpsichord, fortepiano or piano, with large sections in which the qualities of the keyboard instruments are brought out well. While the first movement retains a more traditional character, the lyricism of the second goes more in line with the taste that was coming into its own, leading up to the third movement, where the lively and brilliant rhythm reaches the height of virtuosity.
Mozart’s Cassation in B-flat major K. 99 also dates back to the early 1770s. The composer was very young but already singularly prolific, and he probably had occasion to compose this and other Cassations at parties and celebrations with his fellow students in Salzburg. Cassation is itself a very free musical form, designed as a composition for orchestra consisting of a variable number of sections. The only fixed element is the introductory march, to be repeated after the last section. Mozart composed a set of 7 sections in this case, with careful and meticulous writing, not without passages of surprising quality, in a light and disengaged atmosphere.
La scuola de’ gelosi is a dramma giocoso in two acts by Salieri, first staged in 1778, at the Teatro San Moisè in Venice, and is one of the composer’s most popular works with his audiences, which was revived very often throughout Europe. Perfectly in keeping with the comic vein of the drama, the overture introduces the audience with great brio and several interesting rhythmic and timbral devices. The valuable thematic material was later taken up, with some modifications, in the symphony La veneziana as well.
The Symphony n. 19 by Mozart itself dates back to his younger years, specifically July 1772, when it was composed along with two other symphonies, K. 133 and K. 134, at a time of particularly intense creativity. The formal structure is in four movements, with the addition of the Minuet and Trio as the third movement, and the ensemble is itself within the classical canons, with two oboes, four horns and strings. Here again, as in Cassation K. 99, the lightness of youthful writing is juxtaposed with passages of great merit and quality, in a whole that is rich in transport, now playful, now of great lyricism.