Australian Haydn Ensemble | The Mozarts, The Haydn’s and The Bear – Canberra
28 April 2023 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm AEST
FAMILIES, FRIENDS & MUSICAL TIES THAT BIND
If, to update Wordsworth, the child is father/mother of the man/woman, to what extent are your mature tastes shaped by your earliest musical memories? Following on from last year’s Creation, Roland Peelman leads the full ensemble in a delightful concert that explores the idea, admittedly using an outlier, namely Wolfgang Mozart, as a test case. Childish things abound, including a 9-year-old’s first attempt at Italian opera, a novelty classic by his proud dad, and yes, there’s even a Bear in there.
On the London leg of their first world tour, father/manager Leopold showed off his prodigious progeny to J.C. Bach, then the most highly regarded composer in town. He famously sat with the wunderkind at the harpsichord and they took turns at improvising “very abstruse harmonies…in which the child beat the man”.
Wolfgang encountered subscription concerts and opera for the first time in these months. Did he hear Christian Bach’s splendidly stormy Symphony in G minor? A sketch book entry in the same key-which would prove a rare and important one for Mozart- suggests he did. Listen for the worms that may have invaded his little ears.
In England and Europe, operatic divas (neutered and whole) lined up to request impossibly advanced arias from the lad. Here, the radiant voices of Chloe Lankshear and Andrew Goodwin deliver some rare and beautiful examples from those tender years, including Il re pastore, one of the eight entire operas he composed between the ages of 11 and 17.
Joseph Haydn’s younger brother Michael was an uncle-figure, mentor and lifelong friend to Mozart. He was rather too fond of a drink, and Wolfgang occasionally finished overdue commissions for him on the quiet, but the operatic overture programmed here is all his own work. It’s charmingly bucolic, and not at all alcoholic.
The better-known-Haydn’s Symphony No. 82, (L’ours or The Bear) is celebrated for its fun, bagpipey dancing bear finale. Check out the grinding dissonances in its first movement, though. They clearly presage Beethoven’s Eroica. Did the teenaged Ludwig hear it in Vienna in 1787 on his pilgrimage to get lessons from Mozart?
Any concert featuring Leopold’s Toy Symphony is on for young and old, so bring your kids and grandkids – be they precocious or just precious.
- Presented as part of The Canberra International Music Festival
Skye McIntosh, lead violin
Roland Peelman, guest conductor
Andrew Goodwin, tenor
Chloe Lankshear, soprano
The Australian Haydn Ensemble
Symphony in G minor Op. 6 No. 6
Selected arias including:
‘Va dal furor portata’
‘Clarice cara mia sposa’
‘Misero! O sogno … Aura che intorno spiri’
‘L’amerò, sarò costante’ from Il Re Pastore
Overture to Die Hochzeit auf der Alm (The Wedding on the Alp)
Cassation for Toys, 2 oboes, 2 horns, strings & continuo in G major (Toy Symphony)
Symphony No. 82 in C major (The Bear)