The Cape Symphony launches the 2022/23 season on Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18, 2022 with Mozartiana.
Clarissa Bevilacqua, Violin
Table of Contents
MOZARTIANA: THEME AND VARIATIONS (BASED UPON PIANO VARIATIONS BY MOZART ON A THEME BY GLUCK)
Allegro giusto (Neither too fast or too slow)
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
VIOLIN CONCERTO NO. 5
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Allegro aperto – Adagio – Allegro aperto (Fast and majestic – Slow – Fast and majestic)
- Adagio (Slow)
- Rondeau – Tempo di minuetto (Slow and graceful)
SYMPHONY NO. 4
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
- Andante sostenuto – Moderato con anima – Moderato assai, quasi Andante – Allegro vivo (A little slower – In a spirited manner – Moderate, nearly slow – Fast and lively)
- Andantino in modo di canzona (Slighty faster than walking pace in the style of a song)
- Scherzo: Pizzicato ostinato — Allegro (Persistently plucked – Fast)
- Finale: Allegro con fuoco (Fast with passion)
The concert will open with the Cape Symphony’s first performance ever of Tchaikovsky’s “Mozartiana: Theme and Variations (Based upon Piano Variations by Mozart on a Theme by Gluck).” Of course, you know Tchaikovsky from his ballets Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, as well as "The 1812 Overture." His emotional style, during what would later be called the Romantic period, was quite different from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s, but he admired the great Classical composer and actually referred to him as a god.
Tchaikovsky’s fourth orchestral suite, known as “Mozartiana,” was written in tribute to Mozart. Each of the four movements or sections is inspired by a specific work of Mozart’s. Tchaikovsky didn’t compose in his own style for this, but tried to give these lesser-known Mozart pieces a contemporary feel (contemporary for the late 19th century, that is).
In the forward to the published score, Tchaikovsky wrote, “A great many of Mozart’s outstanding short pieces are, for some incomprehensible reason, little known not only to the public but even to many musicians.” He goes on to say that he “wished to provide a new impetus for the more frequent performance of these gems of musical art, unpretentious in form, but containing incomparable beauties.”
The Cape Symphony will perform the fourth movement of “Mozartiana,” Theme and Variations. Mozart wrote “Variations on a Theme by Gluck,” the theme in question being the aria "Unser dummer Pöbel meint," from Christoph Gluck's opera La Rencontre imprévue, ou Les Pèlerins de la Mecque (The Unexpected Encounter, or The Pilgrims to Mecca). This piece is Tchaikovsky’s variations on Mozart’s variations!
Mozart wrote his Violin Concerto No. 5, which features a solo violinist, two oboes, two horns, and strings, when he was only 19 years old. Here’s a piece of trivia: a moment in the finale movement, a frenzied section of so-called Turkish music that interrupts the minuet theme, gave this concerto the nickname "The Turkish Concerto." “Turkish music” was a style used by European composers inspired by the bands that came to Vienna with Ottoman Empire diplomats in 1699. Mozart wrote his five violin concertos in Salzburg, his hometown, which makes our guest artist all the more perfect.
An American student living in Salzburg, Clarissa Bevilacqua won the 2019 Cape Symphony International Violin Competition, in which Jung-Ho Pak sought a new artist to perform with the orchestra in May 2020. Clarissa is a violin prodigy, debuting at the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago in front of ten thousand people when she was nine years old. She received her Bachelor of Music summa cum laude at age sixteen, and in 2021, she completed her Master of Music degree in violin performance at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg.
Clarissa performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 – the piece she’ll play with the Cape Symphony – with the chamber ensemble Salzburg Orchestra Soloists at the 2020 International Mozart Competition Salzburg. She won three awards: First Prize, Audience Award, and Special Award for the best interpretation of a piece by Mozart. Watch the video of Clarissa’s performance.
“Our original schedule for the competition winner’s performance was put on hold by the pandemic,” explains Jung-Ho. “We’re thrilled to have Clarissa join us to perform Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 as part of our grand season opener; she was by far the most impressive entrant and her talent will astonish the audience.”
In the second half of the program, we present Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, the Romantic era composer’s most accessible and well-known work. Tchaikovsky’s music became increasingly personal and intense at this time in his career, full of emotions and colors expressed by the instruments.
The Fourth Symphony can be interpreted as Tchaikovsky’s own journey of triumphing over adversity, including a history of depression and the end of his brief marriage to a former student while working on this piece. Bitter and overwrought, he wrote that the fanfare that opens the first movement, which he called "the kernel, the quintessence, the chief thought of the whole symphony," stands for “Fate…the fatal power which prevents one from attaining the goal of happiness.” Poor sad Pyotr! All this emotion served to make his melodies more beautiful.
Tchaikovsky’s narrative about his Fourth Symphony is key to understanding why this symphony is so radically different from any other that came before. He wrote about the second part of the first movement, "How wonderful! How distant the obsessive first theme of the allegro now sounds! Gradually the soul is enveloped by daydreams. Everything gloomy and joyless is forgotten. Here it is, here it is — happiness! No! These were daydreams, and Fate wakes us from them."
THe went on to say that the second movement expresses another aspect of sadness. This is that melancholy feeling which comes in the evening when weary from one's toil, one sits alone with a book — but it falls from the hand. There comes a whole host of memories. It is sad that so much is now in the past… It is both sad, yet somehow sweet to be immersed in the past."
The third movement is very different from the others in that it “expresses no specific feeling. This is whimsical arabesques, vague images which can sweep past the imagination…The spirit is neither cheerful nor sad. They have nothing in common with reality; they are strange, wild, and incoherent."
The fourth and final movement, as described by Tchaikovsky, fits perfectly with the Cape Symphony’s mission to inspire joy! "The fourth movement. If within yourself you find no reasons for joy, then look at others. Go out among the people. See how they can enjoy themselves, surrendering themselves wholeheartedly to joyful feelings."
After the Fourth Symphony, Tchaikovsky became more famous, both in Russia and beyond, was awarded the Order of Saint Vladimir by the Tsar, and received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the University of Cambridge in England. Six years before his early death at age 53, Tchaikovsky became an in-demand conductor, overcoming a lifetime of stage fright.
“The Tchaikovsky Fourth is a terrific challenge for the orchestra, which they love, as do I,” says Jung-Ho. “As musicians, we’re inspired by composers who poured their passions into their work; we have to perform just as passionately.”
With thanks to Wikipedia.