January 26th - February 5th, 2017
Horses! For thousands of years they have served humanity in all sorts of ways and have been an inspiration to all the arts, indeed in Gulliver’s Travels (1726) the satirist Jonathan Swift made them the rulers of a better world, free from suffering, hunger and disease, in which human beings are merely lowly domestic animals. In his Aesthetics of Ugliness (1853) Hegel’s pupil Karl Rosenkranz counted them among the most beautiful creatures in the animal kingdom.
Under the circumstances it is remarkable that it took so long for horses to return to Salzburg’s Felsenreitschule, which was originally built for them. Those lucky enough to attend the 2015 production of Mozart’s Davide penitente by Bartabas and his team from the Académie équestre de Versailles still rave about what an exhilarating, trailblazing experience it was. Our delight at having solved the enormous technical and logistical challenges posed by both the human and the equine performers, but also the wealth of new experiences we made in the process, gave us a burning desire to extend our newly-acquired knowledge to achieve an even higher peak of artistic perfection. You can experience the result in this year’s production of Mozart’s Requiem.
Although the dolorous notes of his unfinished Requiem deal with the ‘four last things’, Mozart himself was famously sensual and fun-loving, and his divertimenti, serenades, cassations and so forth provided entertainment of the highest quality for himself and others. The Musicbanda Franui and Peter Simonischek take an ironic look at Ennui – the enemy against whom these works wield their weapons of musical merriment – covering a wide stylistic and literary range to pay their respects to a musical genre that is sadly neglected in modern concerts.
A profoundly warm and human cheerfulness has always been one of Joseph Haydn’s hallmarks. What might have made him and Mozart laugh? Sadly, not one letter of their correspondence has survived. Reports of their encounters and their behaviour towards each other are all second-hand and the details are of dubious veracity. The affectionate address “Papa Haydn” that Mozart is said to have used, and the triadic formula ‘Haydn – Mozart – Beethoven’ that was later established to characterise the First Viennese School, imply a direct line of inheritance and a division of roles that is by no means accurate. In any case, their most intensive dialogue took place through their music – for instance in Mozart’s famous ‘Haydn’ Quartets.
Our focus on Haydn highlights in particular those works that the great inventor and renewer wrote in and after the year of Mozart’s death. He composed an impressive dozen ‘London’ Symphonies and performances of the half-dozen featuring his most popular titles, together with the magnificently bleak ‘Nelson’ Mass, are counterbalanced by the three early ‘Times of Day Symphonies’, two pieces from his experimental years, instrumental concertos, the glorious ‘Erdödy’ Quartets, and important piano music.
A semi-staged pasticcio concert Salomon’s Journey expands on these interconnections, exploring an episode in the life of Haydn’s impresario, Johann Peter Salomon.
The Mozartweek takes place in the centre of Salzburg. More information about Salzburg can be found here.