Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Overture from Don Giovanni, K 527
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788)
Symphony No 1 in D, Wq 183/1
Allegro di molto
Performing parts based on the critical edition Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: The Complete Works (www.cpebach.org) were made available by the publisher, the Packard Humanities Institute of Los Altos, California.
Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Symphony No 64 in A, Hob 1:64, 'Tempora mutantur'
Allegro con spirito
Sir Mark Elder conductor
Academy Symphony Orchestra
Sir Mark Elder has been Music Director of the Hallé since September 2000. He was previously Music Director of English National Opera (1979–1993) and Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
He has worked with many of the world’s leading symphony orchestras, is a Principal Artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and has appeared annually at the BBC Proms for many years, including – in 1987 and 2006 – at the internationally televised Last Night.
He has enjoyed a long association with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and appears in many other prominent theatres including the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra de Paris and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. He was the first English conductor to conduct a new production at the Bayreuth Festival.
From 2011 to 2019 he was Artistic Director of Opera Rara, and he has made many award-winning recordings in a wide repertoire with the Hallé.
He was appointed a Companion of Honour in 2017, knighted in 2008 and awarded the CBE in 1989. In May 2006 he was named Conductor of the Year by the Royal Philharmonic Society and he was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2011. He holds the International Chair in Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Barbirolli Chair at the Royal Academy of Music.
Fernando Gomis España
Joseph SkypalaKarol Onderko
Jamile Costra Destro
Yat Yi Huen
Ho Man Fong
Lon Fon Law
While it was a convention of comic opera, or opera buffa, to begin and end the piece in the same key, in Don Giovanni, Mozart added an extra complication. For in this renowned dark comedy, the music of the opera’s most dramatic moment is also the overture’s opening flourish. These foreboding chords prime the audience to the inevitability of the title character’s judgement and subsequent demise. The ‘concert version’ heard this afternoon provides a cadential resolution to the emotional turbulence; yet in the opera, the drama and music modulate and we are thrust into the opening scene, featuring the murder of the Commendatore in front of his daughter, Donna Anna.
One of the most striking changes in the reception of music across the eighteenth century is the transformation of the orchestral ‘symphony’ or ‘sinfonia’ from a curtain-raising or incidental role to that of the focal point of emerging concert culture. Works by Bach and Handel frequently featured orchestral preludes, which were often given the title ‘sinfonia’ or ‘symphony’. Yet they would not have considered of writing an orchestral work as extensive as any of Beethoven’s symphonies under that title.
Changing fashions were a key driver in this regard, as musicians in aristocratic employ began to experiment more widely with structures and orchestral textures. Principal players in this field include two of Bach’s sons, the London-based Johann Christoph and his elder brother, Carl Philipp Emanuel, who spent several years in the employ of Frederick the Great of Prussia. Some of the most daring formal experiments of the eighteenth century derive from the pen of CPE Bach, whose deliberately amorphous ‘Fantasias’ for keyboard elude analysts to this day. Sadly for JC, CPE and many other composers born in the early eighteenth century, their fame has been eclipsed by the revival of interest in their predecessors and the enduring appeal of their successors, Haydn and Mozart. (It is interesting to note that Haydn’s enduring popularity has led to him being received in the same breath as Mozart rather than JC Bach, who was three years his junior.) The Symphony in D, Wq 183/1 is in the standard three-movement form for works of this ilk, with a rhythmically lurching first movement followed by a short slow movement and rumbustious finale.
Haydn’s Symphony No 64 bears the rather pompous sobriquet ‘Tempora mutantur’, which reportedly derives from a couplet by the English poet John Owen. Translating as ‘times change’, this refers principally to the striking temporal shifts in the slow movement. Elaine Sisman notes how this is not an unusual trick for Haydn, but it is more interesting for the fact that the title self-consciously points to it.