On our first Houston Symphony Broadcast of the New Year, we bring you music from Mozart and Haydn, and then a little bit of both at once under the pen of Alfred Schnittke.
The concert begins with some fire. Franz Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 59 (not an entirely accurate number... it was likely composed even before his Symphony No. 42) is often referred to as the "Fire" Symphony, for a few possible reasons. One, the opening movement is designated at the very fast Presto tempo, which was more commonly used for finales in Haydn's time, giving it a fiery character. Another possible reason is that the symphony was once used to accompany the play Der Feuersbrunst (The Conflagration) at the Esterháza Palace where Haydn was employed.
Next, orchestra violinists Eric Halen and Jennifer Owen act as soloists in Alfred Schnittke's Moz-Art á la Haydn. This piece utilizes fragments of Mozart, some from unfinished compositions, executed similarly to Haydn's famous "Farewell Symphony," which has the players gradually leave the stage at the end, which Schnittke's piece does as well.
Finally, the concert fittingly ends with the very last symphony by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: No. 41 in C major. Perhaps the most striking thing about this piece is its finale, where Mozart composes an impressive five-part fugal section on all of the various themes he's introduced throughout the movement.
Tune in for this concert Sunday (1/1) on News 88.7 or Wednesday (1/4) on Houston Public Media Classical at 8 PM.