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Tuesday, August 27 / 10.00 pm

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Juano Mena,Director
Javier Perianes,Piano
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Program

I

Obertura Don Giovanni KV 527 A. Mozart (1756 - 1791)

Concert per a piano núm. 3 op. 37 L. V. Beethoven (1770 - 1827)

  • Allegro con brio
  • Largo
  • Rondo-Allegro

Solista: Javier Perianes

II

Simfonia núm. 39, KV 543 A. Mozart

  • Adagio - Allegro
  • Andante con moto
  • Menuetto: Allegretto
  • Allegro

Program notes

Mercè Pons (Composer and director of the Gabinete de Comprensión Musical GACOMUS)
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Overture Don Giovanni, KV 527

Don Giovanni, the comic opera in two acts with music from W. A Mozart and libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, was premiered on 29th October 1787 in Prague and, according to the words of its own composer, “was met with great applause”. Mozart had the tendency to write the overtures to his operas once they were finished, this way he could create them in keeping with the essence of the opera and Don Giovanni was no exception.

There have been infinite legends that have arisen from the moment in which the overture was created. Some say that he wrote it the day before the premiere, others say that he finished it the very morning of the overture but these are only historical notes that in no way diminish the quality of the composition.

The overture of Don Giovanni starts in the key of D minor. A dark and melancholic start, intensified by the wind instruments. With its first notes it reminds us of the appearance of the statue of the commander at the end of the opera. Long notes create the atmosphere that will be repeated with the death of the protagonist. But the overture continues and in its second part we are met by a very different musical discourse, let us not forget that we are before a comic opera; going to the key of D major we hear the festive side of the opera which is full of light and happiness.

Ludwing van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
CONCERTO for piano and orchestra No. 4, in G major, Op. 58.

In the period of the composition of this concerto, between 1805 and 1807, Beethoven was working on his opera Fidelio, Symphonies No. 4, 5 and 6, and on many piano and chamber music works.

The work has been considered as “the most fantastic, singular, artificial and difficult one that he has written, being very unfavourable for the soloist.”. It is also the most audacious concerto, the most innovative of the five (the fifth is the famous Emperor). The work is set roughly between 1802 and 1803, during the composition of the symphony Eroica (No. 3) and mostly written in 1805 although it was not finished until 1806 or the start of 1807.

It was performed for the first time in Vienna on 22nd December 1808, together with Symphony No. 5 and Symphony No.6.

The publication, in August 1808, contains a dedication to the Archduke of Austria (who was 19 at the time and was, for a long time, Beethoven’s pupil). This concerto is, without doubt, a masterpiece of concert literature, and maybe also piano literature. Never, even with Mozart, has it been possible to imagine that the piano could be enjoyed so freely, with improvisations of extreme ease, free from formal restraints.

Structured in three movements, the initial Allegro moderato starts, contrary to tradition, when the soloist presents the first theme, laid bare, and with extreme simplicity, true innovation. It only lasts five bars. The motif is a persisting pulsation of three sounds that have infinite variations throughout the movement. It is a theme that reminiscent of a motif from the fifth symphony, generously extended by the orchestral tutti. In the marvellous central movement, Andante con moto, we discover the climax of the score, even the silence seems to gather a very eloquent and new significance that it is not difficult to imagine the surprise of the first listeners. Here we find “the fight between the main conflicting characters”, it is almost two characters in dialogue. The first, a rhythmic theme, imperious, severely austere, almost thrilling, outlined by chords from the orchestra (only wind instruments). The second is a soft melody, almost painful from the soloist, as if it was describing an unfair fight, poeticising a piano song that, bit by bit, resolves itself and elevates itself until it reaches the beautiful cadenza, completely free of preciosity. The last movement, Rondo: Vivace, is extremely brilliant. This end finds the traditional spirit of previous concertos although it introduces innovations with the freedom of its thematic conduction. Here we do not have the cyclic alternation between the themes of gentleness and violence as is characteristic of Beethoven.

Wolgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Symphony No. 39 in E-Flat Major, K. 543

He composed this symphony in the middle of 1788 together with the following two. Its premiere date, following the death of its composer, is uncertain. Some people consider Mozart’s masonic symphony as excellent, happy in nature, confident and lucid, from the extraordinary use of the clarinets (instruments considered masonic). Mozart’s three last symphonies (Symphonies No. 39, 40 and 41) were written in the record time of six weeks and were not performed in the lifetime of their creator. They are true masterpieces, they have an expression, dramaticism and density that had never before been achieved and they comprise the full completion of the classic symphony and the symphonic work of the composer. They were written in one of the darkest periods of Mozart’s life given that his economic and personal situation were very precarious. Even if his Don Giovanni had enjoyed great success at its premiere in Prague, it did not manage to seduce the Viennese and if that was not enough, his daughter, Teresa, died three days after having completing Symphony No.39. This symphony is composed of four movements. The first, Adagio-Allegro, starts with an imposing solemnity, accentuated by the echoes from the trumpets and the drums. There is a clear reference to Don Giovanni in the ascending and descending scales, the violins and subsequently the deep strings. This same rythym persists until the entrance of Allegro which comes preceded by a series of daring harmonic bars from the strings and for an instant a brief truce. The Allegro starts with a delicateness that contrasts with the ritornello that follows it and the vigour is accentuated with the scales to notable dramatic effect. The second movement, Andante con moto, presents a theme that is divided into two parts, one calm and the other excited. The central part is surprisingly dramatic and has echoes that imitate the first theme. The third movement, Menuetto: Allegretto, is one of the shortest and most beautiful pages ever devised by Mozart. The main theme, serene and with a military character, gives way to the marvellous jewel that is the trio (the central part), and exquisite and tender ländler (an Austrian dance in three tempos, similar to a slow waltz, which enjoyed a lot of popularity at the start of the 19th century, before which the waltz was in fashion) initially undertaken by the clarinets. The clarinet was in its development stages but this was not an obstacle for Mozart given that he knew how to get the best out of what he had, both technically and expressively. The response of the strings to the motif of the clarinets, with the emphasised ending of the French horns, is one of Mozart’s most accomplished musical sequences. The final Allegro, which comes immediately after the Menuetto, presents an extraordinary vivacity and enthusiasm. The theme, which goes from the violins at the start to other the instruments of the orchestra, changes in an imitative way and provokes different colours and textures which show to us, once again, that we are before the work of a genius to whom music has no secrets.

Biographies

London Philharmonic Orchestra

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Recognised today as one of the finest orchestras on the international stage, the London Philharmonic Orchestra balances a long and distinguished history with a reputation as one of the UK’s most forward-looking ensembles. As well as its concert performances, the Orchestra also records film soundtracks, releases CDs on its own record label and reaches thousands of people every year through activities for families, schools and community groups.

The Orchestra was founded by Sir Thomas Beecham in 1932, and has since been headed by many great conductors including Sir Adrian Boult, Bernard Haitink, Sir Georg Solti, Klaus Tennstedt and Kurt Masur. In 2017 Vladimir Jurowski celebrated his tenth anniversary as the Orchestra’s Principal Conductor. Andrés Orozco-Estrada took up the position of Principal Guest Conductor in September 2015.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra has been performing at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall since it opened in 1951, becoming Resident Orchestra in 1992. It also has flourishing residencies in Brighton and Eastbourne, and in summer plays for Glyndebourne Festival Opera where it has been Resident Symphony Orchestra for over 50 years. Touring abroad forms a significant part of the Orchestra’s schedule: highlights of the 2017/18 season include visits to Japan, China, Romania, the Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Spain, Italy and France.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra broadcasts regularly on television and radio. It also works with the Hollywood and UK film industries, recording soundtracks for blockbusters including the Oscar-winning score for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In 2005 it established its own record label.

In summer 2012 the London Philharmonic Orchestra performed as part of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames, and was also chosen to record all the world’s national anthems for the London 2012 Olympics. In 2013 it was the winner of the RPS Music Award for Ensemble.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra maintains an energetic programme of activities for young people including the BrightSparks schools’ concerts and FUNharmonics family concerts. Its work at the forefront of digital engagement and social media has enabled the Orchestra to reach even more people worldwide: all its recordings are available to download from iTunes and, as well as a YouTube channel and regular podcasts, the Orchestra has a lively presence on social media.

Juanjo Mena, director

Juanjo Mena, director

Juanjo Mena is one of the most well-known Spanish conductors on the international circuit. Currently he is the principal conductor of the Cincinnati May Festival and the associate conductor of the Orquesta Nacional de España. He has been the conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, principal guest conductor of the Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester and the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa and conductor and artistic director of the Orquesta Sinfónica in Bilbao.

He directs prestigious groups such as the Philharmonics of Berlin, London, della Scala (Milán), Oslo and Rotterdam, the symphonies of the Bavarian, Bamberg and Swedish radio, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, NHK Tokyo, Orchestre National de France, the Konzerthausorchester in Berlin, the Tonhalle Orchester in Zürich and the Gewandhausorchester in Leipzig.

He has directed the most notable North American orchestras such as the symphonies of Chicago, Cincinnati, Montreal, Pittsburgh and Toronto, the philharmonics of New York and Los Angeles, and the orchestras of Cleveland, Minnesota, Philadelphia and Washington among many more. He regularly appears at the head of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, whether in its concert season or the Tanglewood Festival.

As an opera director he has directed great works from the romantic repertoire, such as Der fliegende Holländer, Salome, Elektra, Ariadne auf Naxos, Duke Bluebeard and Erwartung and productions such as Eugene Onegin in Genoa, La vida breve in Madrid, Le nozze di Figaro in Lausanne and Billy Budd and Fidelio in Bilbao.

His upcoming commitments include his return to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and the Minnesota Orchestra seasons and his debut with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

With the BBC Philharmonic he has led the tours of Germany, Austria, China and South Korea, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Spain, and he has a stable presence at the prestigious BBC Proms in London.

Juanjo Mena has carried out a series of recordings with the BBC Philharmonic for the record label Chandos. The records are already on sale with tributes to Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga, Alberto Ginastera, Isaac Albéniz, Manuel de Falla, Gabriel Pierné, Xavier Montsalvatge, C. M. von Weber and Joaquín Turina, and have received good reviews by the associated press. He has also recorded the Sinfonia Turangalîla by Messiaen with the record label Hyperion and with the Bergen Philharmonic, a piece considered referential by the associated press.

In 2016 Juanjo Mena was awarded the Premio Nacional de Música in the Performance category.

Javier Perianes, piano

Javier Perianes, piano

“His demeanour and technique… radiate calm, yet the precision and speed of his finger work can be quite shattering. Seldom, if ever, have I encountered such a combination of evident modesty and utter brilliance”
(Sunday Times)

The international career of Spanish pianist Javier Perianes has led him to perform in the most prestigious concert halls, with the world’s top orchestras. He has collaborated with conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Charles Dutoit, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Gustavo Dudamel, Sakari Oramo, Yuri Temirkanov, Rafael Frübeck de Burgos, Long Yu, Simone Young, Vladimir Jurowski, Josep Pons, David Afkham and Daniel Harding, and has appeared at festivals such as BBC Proms, Mainly Mozart, Lucerne, La Roque d'Anthéron, Grafenegg, San Sebastian, Granada and Ravinia. Described by The Telegraph as “a pianist of impeccable and refined tastes, blessed with a warmth of touch”, Javier Perianes was awarded the ‘National Music Prize’ in 2012 by the Ministry of Culture of Spain and is International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) ‘Artist of the Year 2019’.

In the 2018/19 season, Perianes returns to the London Philharmonic Orchestra to perform a Beethoven Cycle over two consecutive evenings at the Royal Festival Hall after a Spanish tour with conductor Juanjo Mena. He will also perform Beethoven on tours in Australia and New Zealand, as well as touring the United States performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, culminating with a return to Carnegie Hall in New York.

In addition to Mozart and Beethoven, this season Perianes performs works by Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Grieg, Falla and Bartók with orchestras such as Gewandhausorchester Leipzig with Marin Alsop, Toronto Symphony with Han-na Chang, Orchestre de Paris and Bergen Philharmonic with Klaus Mäkelä, St. Louis Symphony and Gustavo Gimeno, San Francisco Symphony and Pablo Heras-Casado, Milwaukee Symphony with Matthias Pintscher, Konzerthausorchester Berlin and Antonio Méndez, Gävle Symphony with Jaime Martín in Sweden and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Tampere Philharmonic with Santtu- Matias Rouvali, the BBC Scottish with Thomas Dausgaard, and the Czech Philharmonic with Louis Langrée in his return to the Prague Spring Festival.

In recital, Javier Perianes undertakes an extensive European tour that will bring him to cities such as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Oslo, Lisbon, Istanbul, Essen, Barcelona and Madrid, with a programme comprising works by Chopin, Debussy and Falla.

Perianes is also a natural and keen chamber musician and plays with a variety of partners. Last season saw him once again collaborate with artists such as Tabea Zimmermann at the National Auditorium in Madrid and the Beethoven Haus in Bonn, and the Quiroga Quartet on a tour of Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as recording Debussy’s Sonata for Cello and Piano for Harmonia Mundi in his first collaboration with Jean-Guihen Queyras.

Previous seasons’ highlights include concerts with the Wiener Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco Symphony orchestras, Oslo, London, New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, Orchestre de Paris, Philharmonia Orchestra, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Danish National, Washington National, Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian Radio Orchestras, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony and Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal.

Javier Perianes is an exclusive artist of the Harmonia Mundi label. His extensive discography ranges from Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Grieg, Chopin, Debussy, Ravel and Bartók to Blasco de Nebra, Mompou, Falla, Granados and Turina. His album with the live recording of the Grieg’s Concerto and a selection of the Lyric Pieces has been described as “a new classic” by Classica magazine, which awarded him a Choc; He also earned the Editor’s Choice awards from Gramophone and Maestro from Pianiste magazine. His “elegant vision” and “brilliant interpretation” (New York Times) of Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words granted him a Choc from Classica magazine and his inclusion in the Top 10 of Mendelssohn’s recordings by Gramophone magazine, and his recording of Nights in The Gardens de Spain together with a selection of Falla piano pieces also received a Choc from Classica magazine and the Gramophone Editor’s Choice award, as well as being nominated for the Latin Grammy in 2012. In his latest album Perianes pays tribute to Claude Debussy on the centenary of his death with the registration of his first book which included Preludes and Estampes.

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