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monday, august 20 // 10.00 pm

Aurora Orchestra

Imogen CooperPiano
Nicholas CollonDirector
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I part

Música del ballet “Idomeneo” KV. 367W.A. Mozart 1756-1791
  • Chaconne
  • Pas Seul
Concert per a piano i orquestra núm. 25, KV. 503W.A. Mozart
  • Allegro maestoso
  • Andante
  • Allegretto

II part

Simfonia núm. 5 en Do menor, op. 67L.v. Beethoven 1770-1827
  • Allegro con brio
  • Andante con moto
  • Allegro
  • Allegro

Interpretada de memòria

Program notes

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
IDOMENEO, ballet music, KV 367 (Selection: “Chaconne” and “Pas seul (from Mr. Le Grand)”

In 1781 Mozart composed the opera Idomeneo, a commission by the secretary of the prince-elector of Bavaria Carl Theodor, for the Munich Court Theatre. In this opera, based on the mythological theme of Idomeneus, Mozart follows the French tradition and the reformist ideas of Gluck that advocated integrating ballet into opera. Thus, the five ballet numbers, the first two of which we will listen to today, namely the “Chaconne” and the “Pas seul (from Mr. Le Grand)”, are not elements separated from the action, rather, they are integrated into it. The “Chaconne”, is not a chaconne per se –a dance of Spanish origin that consists of a series of variations on a repetitive bass-line– but rather a very free rondo, with different episodes, such as the “Annonce”, and another that comes close to the original meaning of chaconne -a composition on ostinato chords- that Mozart more precisely calls “Chacona”. With the return to the initial theme of the rondo, this first dance ends, linking up -undoubtedly the dances were performed one after another- with the “Pas seul”. This second dance is a charming piece with four internal movements that are successively quicker: the initial Largo which is solemn; an Allegretto with a certain rococo feel, and the two final Più Allegro, which brilliantly conclude the ballet. Thus, Mozart creates two pieces that are harmoniously complex, full of great structural freedom.

CONCERTO No. 25 for piano and orchestra in in C major, K. 503.
Concerto no. 25 composed between 1784-1786 has three movements: Allegro maestoso, Andante and Finale, Allegretto, it was completed two days before Symphony K.504 in D major, named “Prague” and it seems to also be intended for the capital of Bohemia, which enthusiastically welcomed Mozart when Vienna began to turn its back on him, after having snubbed his new opera The Marriage of Figaro. The Concerto, of impressive dimensions, grandiose, magnificent, with lots of use of the counterpoint, has the characteristic of not including clarinets in the orchestra, which is the same as with the “Prague” Symphony. The extensive initial Allegro maestoso written as a sonata, is reminiscent of the “Jupiter” symphony and begins with a long tutti in which a series of three quavers is imposed with an obsessive and insistent rhythm. The following theme, in C minor, almost seems like an echo of the start of "La Marseillaise", and the rhythm of three quavers persists at its end. The entry of the soloist seems a little hesitant, but the result is a marvellous dialogue with the orchestra. The development, based on the theme in the minor key, is preceded by the obstinate rhythm of the three quavers. It is a passage of virtuosity where the soloist leads us to the recapitulation, where the themes are repeated in a different order. The theme in C minor is recapitulated now, triumphantly, in the major scale. In the last bars, the three quavers offer all of their energy. The Andante, a mixture of poetry and seriousness, presents a theme that is repeated three times differently, using the musical colours of the orchestra and the piano to do so. The Finale Allegretto is in the form of a rondo-sonata, and its light melody and with counterpoint stresses was borrowed from a gavotte of the ballet Idomeneo. Thus, this Concerto is linked with the ballet Idomeneo and due to the motif with the three quavers, with Symphony No. 5 by Beethoven.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN
SYMPHONY number 5, in C minor Op.67

Ta-ta-ta-Taaa, the most famous bar of music in music history, opens the “Fifth” by Beethoven, and we allow ourselves to be dragged along by its energy, naturally delving into the inner world of Beethoven, which is our own. The sonorous f-p contracts, which are simply the internal contradictions caused by the joy-pain dichotomy. His treatment of the melody, which is cut, extended, dislocated and varied, before fully breaking out, does not come from musical reasons, but rather the psychological need to reflect the obstacles and the necessary battle before reaching a triumphant ending. This symphony was composed between 1804 and 1808 and its first performance at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna on 22 December 1808, directed by the composer, bore little resemblance to the remarkable prestige it gradually acquired and that lives on at present.

We should clarify what happened on the day of the first performance in Vienna. The program, which lasted four hours, included: 1. Pastoral Symphony, 2. Ah! perfido (Ah! Deceiver), Op. 65 (Concert aria), 3. Gloria of Mass in C major, 4. Concerto for piano no.4 Break. 5. Symphony No. 5, 6. Sanctus and Benedictus of the Mass in C major, 7. An improvisation for piano performed by Beethoven and 8. Choral Fantasy Op.80, for piano, choir and orchestra. It was a very long program, and we add the fact that there was a winter cold, we can understand why a large part of the audience left the theatre before the end of the event. It had cost Beethoven a large amount of money to rent the theatre, so he made the most of the chance to premiere everything he could.

According to an account by J.F. Reichardt (who accompanied Prince Lobkowitz to this legendary soirée): “We were there from 6.30 pm in the evening until 10.30 pm at night with a frightful cold, and we learned from experience that it is even possible to get tired of good things”. Reichardt and Lobkovitz stayed until the end, with their patience often tested, not by the music -both were more knowledgeable than the majority- but rather by the performance, which was harsh and indolent. Beethoven´s music was still not the most popular ever written, but we must understand that all of its musical and conceptual innovations were very intense, which made them difficult to understand at first. In fact, when Goethe began to weep out of emotion when he heard his music, Beethoven wrote to him: “Dear friend: artists do not weep. Music must move the spirit of men, not make them emotional”. For Beethoven, music does not mean contemplation, but rather action. And action is what we find in this work which has the usual form of a classical symphony, four movements: I Allegro con brio (structured as a sonata); II Andante con moto; III Scherzo- Allegro and IV Allegro, linked with the third, an element of musical continuity that was very innovative and original at the time. Beethoven was the first to point out the similarity of the Scherzo with the start of the final movement of the great symphony in G minor of Mozart (he copied it out on a page next to the outline for his “No. 5”). But while there the effect is determined and triumphant, here it is dimmed by faltering questions. The “Symphony No.5” notably stands out for the amount of time taken to compose it. There are many studies on the subject that reveal that in previous Beethoven works, the famous rhythmic motif that starts the symphony was already used, and there is a particular tendency for the dramatic possibilities of the C minor tonality. In the “No.5”, technical mastery and the reflection of philosophical thinking go hand in hand. That is why the subjective expression of Beethoven is transformed into a feeling that is so exclusively human, which makes this symphony timeless and universal.

Mercè PonsComposer and director of the Musical Understanding Cabinet "GACOMUS"


Aurora Orchestra

Aurora Orchestra

With its signature creative ethos, Aurora Orchestra combines world-class performance with adventurous programming and trailblazing presentation. Founded in 2005 under Principal Conductor Nicholas Collon, it has quickly established a reputation as one of Europe’s leading chamber orchestras, garnering several major awards including two RPS Awards and a German ECHO Klassik Award.

Collaborating widely across art forms and musical genres, Aurora has worked with an exceptional breadth of artists ranging from Ian Bostridge, Imogen Cooper and Sarah Connolly to Edmund de Waal, Wayne McGregor, and Björk. A champion of new music, it has premiered works by composers including Julian Anderson, Benedict Mason, Anna Meredith, Nico Muhly, and Judith Weir. In recent years, it has pioneered memorised performance (without the use of printed sheet music) and is thought to be the first orchestra in the word to perform entire symphonies in this unique way.

Based in London, Aurora is Resident Orchestra at Kings Place, and Associate Orchestra at Southbank Centre, where its pioneering ‘Orchestral Theatre’ series has featured a variety of spoken word, film, circus and theatre collaborations. The orchestra also appears regularly at other major venues including the Royal Opera House, Globe Theatre, and Wigmore Hall; and has performed in the past nine BBC Proms. Aurora regularly tours internationally, with recent and upcoming highlights at The Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Kölner Philharmonie, Victoria Concert Hall Singapore, Melbourne Festival, and Shanghai Concert Hall.

At the heart of Aurora is a commitment to challenging expectations of what an orchestra can and should do on the concert stage, and inspiring audiences of all ages and backgrounds to develop a passion for orchestral music. Through an award-winning learning and participation programme, Aurora engages diverse audiences and brings orchestral music to schools, families, and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Nicholas Collon<span>Director</span>

Nicholas CollonDirector

Nicholas Collon is founder and Principal Conductor of Aurora Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne, and Principal Conductor of the Residentie Orkest in The Hague, stepping up to Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor from 2018/19. His skill as a communicator and innovator has been recognised by both critics and audiences alike: he was the recipient of the 2012 Critics’ Circle Award for Exceptional Young Talent and he is known as an imaginative programmer encompassing an exceptionally wide range of music.

Alongside his work with Aurora, Nicholas is in demand as a guest conductor with other ensembles both in the UK and abroad. He has been a regular guest with the Philharmonia, BBC Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, Danish Radio Symphony, and recently debuted with the Deutsche SinfonieOrchester Berlin and the Finnish Radio Symphony. He has also appeared at English National Opera (The Magic Flute), Welsh National Opera (Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream) and Glyndebourne (Rape of Lucretia).

Imogen Cooper<span>Piano</span>

Imogen CooperPiano

Regarded as one of the finest interpreters of Classical and Romantic repertoire, Imogen Cooper is internationally renowned for her virtuosity and lyricism. Recent and future concerto performances include the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle, Sydney Symphony with Simone Young and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Thomas Dausgaard.

Imogen has an extensive international career and has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Budapest Festival, NHK and London Symphony Orchestras. Her recital appearances have included Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, Singapore, Paris, Vienna, Prague and the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg.

In new music, Imogen has premiered two works at the Cheltenham International Festival; Traced Overhead by Thomas Adès (1996) and Decorated Skin by Deirdre Gribbin (2003). In 1996, she also collaborated with members of the Berliner Philharmoniker in the premiere of the quintet, Voices for Angels.

Imogen is a committed chamber musician and performs regularly with Henning Kraggerud and Adrian Brendel. As a Lieder recitalist, she has had a long collaboration with Wolfgang Holzmair in both the concert hall and recording studio. Her recent solo recordings for Chandos Records feature music by Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Wagner and Robert and Clara Schumann.

Imogen received a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours in 2007 and was the recipient of an award from the Royal Philharmonic Society the following year. In 1997, she was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music and in 1999 she was made a Doctor of Music at Exeter University. Imogen was the Humanitas Visiting Professor in Classical Music and Music Education at the University of Oxford for 2012-13. The Imogen Cooper Music Trust was founded in 2015, to support young pianists at the cusp of their careers and to give them time in an environment of peace and beauty.

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