Conductor Tomáš Netopil and the pianist Nikolai Lugansky have chosen an exemplary evening of Viennese music with works by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven for the concerts in April 2019.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Selections of ballet music from opera Idomeneo, K 367 (No. 1: Chaconne and No. 2: Pas Seul de Mr le Grand)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58
INTERMISSION – 20ʼ
Symphony No. 104 in D Major, Hob I/104 (“London”)
Tomáš Netopil took up the position of General Music Director of the Aalto Theatre and Philharmonie Essen at the start of 2013/2014. In addition to his concert season at the helm of Essen Philharmoniker, his opera productions in 2018/2019 include Der Freischütz , Salome, Così fan tutte and Rusalka whilst in 2017/2018 he conducted The Bartered Bride, Salome, Lohengrin, Die Walküre, and Die Entführung aus dem Serail.
Netopil made his debut with Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden in 2008 since when he has conducted La clemenza di Tito, Rusalka, The Cunning Little Vixen, La Juive, and Busoni’s Doktor Faust and he will conduct a new production of The Bartered Bride for them in Spring 2019. This season, he will also conduct a new production of Jenůfa for Netherlands Opera and returns to Wiener Staatsoper for Idomeneo: in 2017/2018 he conducted a new production of Der Freischütz, and has previously conducted Káťa Kabanová, Rusalka and The Cunning Little Vixen in Vienna. He has also conducted Falstaff and The Makropulos Case for Vlaamse Opera.
An inspirational force in Czech music, Tomáš Netopil is one of the two Principal Guest Conductors of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. In August 2017 he conducted two Dvořák and Mozart concerts alongside Diana Damrau at the Grafenegg Festival. In early Spring 2018 he led the orchestra on an extensive UK tour, and conducted Má vlast in the opening concert of the 2018 Prague Spring Festival, which was televised live.
About his debut at the Dvořák's Prague festival in 2017 with Essener Philharmoniker Bachtrack wrote: “The music lit up the stage like a rousing march, providing a dazzling showcase for Netopilʼs facility for creating three-dimensional soundscapes with the orchestra. With Strauss, they showed an impressive ability to segue almost instantly from dramatic dissonance to charming melodies.” He then conducted Dvořákʼs Te Deum in the closing concert of the festival with Vienna Symphony Orchestra, whom he subsequently conducted at Vienna Konzerthaus and later on at the Vienna Musikverein.
On the concert platform, in the 2018/2019 he returned to the Zürich Tonhalle. Highlights of recent seasons have included Orchestre de Paris, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, whilst future dates include Leipzig Gewandhaus and RAI Torino.
Tomáš Netopil’s discography for Supraphon includes Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass (in its never-before-recorded original 1927 version), Dvořákʼs complete cello works, Martinůʼs Ariane and Double Concerto, and Smetana’s Má vlast with the Prague Symphony Orchestra. He has also recorded Suk’s Asrael Symphony with Essener Philharmoniker.
From 2008–2012 Tomáš Netopil held the position of Music Director of the Prague National Theatre. Tomáš Netopil studied violin and conducting in his native Czech Republic, as well as at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm under the guidance of Professor Jorma Panula. In 2002 he won the 1st Sir Georg Solti Conductors Competition at the Alte Oper Frankfurt.
Described by Gramophone as “the most trailblazing and meteoric performer of all” in Rachmaninov and Prokofiev, and capable of great refinement and “crystalline beauty” (The Financial Times) in Mozart and Schubert, Nikolai Lugansky is a pianist of extraordinary depth and versatility.
He regularly works with top level conductors such as Osmo Vänskä, Yuri Temirkanov, Mikhail Pletnev, Gianandrea Noseda and Vladimir Jurowski. Concerto highlights for the 2018/2019 season include performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Russian National Orchestra, Orquesta Nacional de España, Iceland and Bamberg symphonies. A tour with Orchestre National de France took him to China and then onto Taipei and Japan with St Petersburg Philharmonic.
A regular recitalist the world over, upcoming performances include the International Piano Series in London, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw, Paris’ Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and a residency at Flagey in Brussels. He regularly appears at some of the worldʼs most distinguished festivals, including the Aspen, Tanglewood, Ravinia, and Verbier festivals. Chamber music collaborators include Vadim Repin, Alexander Kniazev, Mischa Maisky and Leonidas Kavakos.
Nikolai Lugansky has won a number of awards for his many recordings. His recital CD featuring Rachmaninovʼs Piano Sonatas won the Diapason d’Or and an ECHO Klassik Award while his recording of concertos by Grieg and Prokofiev with Kent Nagano and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin was a Gramophone Editor’s Choice. His earlier recordings have also won a number of awards, including a Diapason dʼOr, BBC Music Magazine Award and ECHO Klassik prize. Lugansky has recently signed an exclusive contract with Harmonia Mundi and his most recent disc of Rachmaninov’s 24 Preludes, released in April 2018, met with enthusiastic reviews. He was described as having “an ability to enchant the ear… with a deep feeling for the music” (The Financial Times). His recording of solo piano music by Debussy was released in the 2018 anniversary year.
Lugansky is Artistic Director of the Tambov Rachmaninov Festival and is also a supporter of, and regular performer at, the Rachmaninov Estate and Museum of Ivanovka.
Nikolai Lugansky studied at Moscow’s Central Music School and the Moscow Conservatoire where his teachers included Tatiana Kestner, Tatiana Nikolayeva and Sergei Dorensky. He was awarded the honour of People’s Artist of Russia in April 2013.
FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN
In the early nineteenth century, Franz Joseph Haydn was living out his days in Vienna. He left an enormous legacy of compositions including 106 symphonies. His Symphony No. 104 in D Major (known as the “Salomon Symphony” or “London Symphony”) is usually regarded as his last. After the death of his employer Count Nikolaus Esterházy, Haydn undertook two successful journeys to London (1791–1792, 1794–1795) at the invitation of the impresario Johann Peter Salomon. It was there that Haydn composed his Symphony No. 104 in D Major in 1795. The successful premiere took place at the King’s Theatre that May under the composer’s direction. The first movement is in sonata form, and the second movement, a set of variations, is predominantly in the light mood of a dance. This is followed by a menuet and trio, then the final fourth movement returns to sonata form. There has been discussion among musicologists about the main theme of the movement: its melody is reminiscent of a Czech dance, a “stepping round” with the title Nechoď tam (Don’t Go There), and it even more resembles the Croatian folk song Oj Jelena. Might Haydn have heard the song when he was in the service of Count Esterházy? Others see the influence of folk music in the use of the drone above which the main theme is heard. Who knows…
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Ludwig van Beethoven did not move to Vienna until after Mozart’s death. There, he established himself as a capable pianist and especially as a composer. In his works, he not only brought to fulfilment the aesthetic ideal of Classicism, but also moved ahead in the direction of early Romanticism. In the piano concerto genre, neither Mozart nor Beethoven took any interest in mere virtuosity. Rather, they strove to create compositions of intellectual and formal worth similar in importance to that of the symphony. Beethoven composed his Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58 in 1805/6. It was the last concerto that Beethoven premiered himself, privately in March 1807 at Prince Lobkowitz’s palace in Vienna and publicly on 22 December 1808 at the Theater an der Wien. Listeners may have been surprised at the very beginning of the first movement, which opens with a solo piano passage for the first time in the genre’s history. The second movement is characterised by the tension of dramatic conflict between the lyrical theme for the piano and the sombre unison of the strings. The final movement, Rondo (Vivace), brings the work to a joyous conclusion. The concerto is dedicated to Archduke Rudolf Johann of Habsburg-Lorraine, Beethoven’s piano pupil, who later became the Archbishop of Olomouc.
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
In 1780, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was commissioned to compose an opera seria for the court of the combined Electoral Palatinate and Electorate of Bavaria as the lead operatic title for the coming Carnival season in Munich. The theme taken from Homer was not unusual for eighteenth-century opera. The author of the Italian libretto was Giambattista Varesco, who was serving as the court chaplain in Salzburg. Rehearsals began in December 1780, and the premiere took place on 29 January 1781 at the theatre of the electoral residence in Munich. Mozart composed the ballet music for Idomeneo while staying in Munich. There are five movements: ciaccona, pas seul, passepied, gavotte, and passacaglia. The opening ciaccona is in the form of a rondo, and it begins with a theme identical to that of the ciaccona from the opera Iphigénie en Aulide by Christoph Willibald Gluck. The opera Idomeneo employs elements of both opera seria and the French tragédie lyrique. The second movement was intended as a solo dance, and it was later shortened. After the opera’s performance, Mozart did not return to Salzburg, but instead departed for Vienna, where he settled permanently.
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