Program Notes Triple Concerto in C Major for Piano, Violin and Cello, Op. 56 Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827) “Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman.” - L. van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany in 1770 to a family of seven children and died in Vienna in 1827. Over 20,000 Viennese attended Beethoven’s funeral; one of the torchbearers was Franz Schubert, who was buried beside him a year later in 1828. Beethoven’s father was his first teacher and he made his first public performance at age seven in 1778 in Cologne. He later studied with Gottlob, Neefe, Haydn, Albrechtsberger and Salieri among others; and quickly gained a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. Knowing how Leopold Mozart exploited his son Wolfgang, Beethoven’s father, Johann, also attempted to do the same but without success. Beethoven never married but there is no doubt that he had had a few romantic relationships during his life time. During the late 1790’s, Beethoven noticed that there was a problem with his hearing but was unsuccessful in finding a cure. Although no one knew for certain his actual cause of death, some of the medicine that he had taken contained so much lead that there was common belief that he died of lead-poisoning. The Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano in C Major was written in 1803 and published by Breitkopf & Härtel the following year. Beethoven’s biographer, Anton Schindler, once said that this concerto was written for Beethoven’s patron Archduke Rudolf but there was no written proof for this claim. We do know that it was dedicated to Franz Joseph Maximillian Fürst von Lobkowitz and premiered in 1808 with poor reviews. The work was scored for flute, 2 oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, 2 French horns, 2 trumpets, timpani and orchestral strings; striking similarity to Mozart’s “Jupiter” symphony. The first movement, Allegro, is in sonata-form with an unusual opening played by the cellos and double basses before the solo instruments enter. For the most part, the music stays in C Major. Beautiful dialogues are written for the violin and cello in the second movement. The finale is marked Rondo alla pollaca, a very popular Polish dance. The music is energetic and each solo instrument is given numerous moments to shine. Two distinct features of this piece are that there is no cadenza and many solo cello passages are written in the high register. This gives the audience an impression that it is actually a concerto for two violins and piano.
Symphony No. 41 (“Jupiter”) in C Major, K. 551 W.A. Mozart (1756 – 1791) “It is the greatest orchestral work of the world which preceded the French Revolution.” (Sir Charles Grove) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27th, 1756 in Salzburg, Austria to Leopold and Anna Marie Mozart. At the time of Mozart’s birth, Leopold was employed by the
Archbishop of Salzburg as the vice-Kapellmeister of his orchestra. When Leopold realized that his son was a child prodigy, he decided to showcase Mozart’s talents all over Europe. However, this did not help Mozart in securing a decent employment in the Viennese court later on in his life. In fact, at the time of his death, he was so deep in debt that he had to borrow money from his close friends to pay his bills. Mozart died on December 5, 1791; the cause of his death is unknown. During his lifetime, Mozart wrote over 600 compositions including 27 piano concerti, 5 violin concerti, numerous operas such as The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute, 41 Symphonies, several sonatas for piano and violin, and his final work, The Requiem. Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter” was completed in the summer of 1788. However, no one knows for certain when it had its premiere and the person who gave the title to the symphony. The work was scored for flute, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets, 2 French horns, timpani and orchestral strings. The first movement, Allegro vivace, begins with a very elegant and energetic motif which repeats throughout the entire movement. The second movement, Andante cantabile, is a French Sarabande, led by muted violins. The third movement is a traditional Minuet and Trio. The finale, Molto allegro, opens with a four note motif that is reminiscent to the final movement of Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 13. This movement is an excellent example of 19th century’s chromaticism at its best; a different kind of harmony that is quite unique in music of the classical period.
Program notes written by Eric D. Fahn©