Nov 13 2021


7:30 pm


GABRIEL FAURÉMasques et Bergamasques

Bryan Wallick, piano

FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN – Symphony No. 104 London

Mozart and Haydn, the co-masters of the Classical period, were exceptionally close, in spite of their age difference, after meeting for the first time in 1781. Mozart didn’t really need a mentor, having already achieved considerable acclaim, and Haydn was firmly established as the preeminent composer in all of Europe. They admired each other greatly and often performed together, with “Papa” Haydn playing violin and Mozart viola. Their last meeting was just before Haydn departed Vienna for London, only a year before Mozart died. When news of Mozart’s death reached Haydn in London he was distraught, saying later: “For some time I was quite beside myself over his death, and could not believe that Providence should so quickly have called away an irreplaceable man into the next world.” It is not hard to imagine that Haydn’s admiration of Mozart’s talent and his immense grief over the younger composer’s death could have found their way into the music Haydn composed, including his Symphony No. 104, his final symphony and the last of the 12 symphonies he wrote while in London. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 is often referred to as the “Elvira Madigan” concerto because it was used in a 1967 Swedish film of the same name. It is considered to be one of the most difficult of Mozart’s piano concertos, described by Mozart’s father as “astonishingly difficult.” It is a cheerful, elegant work with the famous second movement among the most beautiful in all of classical music. French composer Gabriel Fauré is said to have learned “restraint and beauty” from Mozart, with the latter being one of several prominent influences on Faure’s compositional style, particularly his early works. His delightfully charming Masques et Bergamasques, has been described as “Mozart imitating Fauré.”  It was commissioned by Prince Albert I of Monaco for the Monte Carlo Opera. The original score consisted of eight movements, but the Suite on our program has four movements, three of which Fauré reworked from an abandoned 1869 symphony. The last movement of the Suite is the only one Fauré wrote just for the commission.