Khatia Buniatishvili Plays Mozart

חטיה בוניטיאשוילי

Date

30.1.2019

Wednesday 20:00

Hall

The Lowy concert hall

Venue

Charles Bronfman Auditorium, Tel Aviv

Venue

Charles Bronfman Auditorium, Tel Aviv

Hall

The Lowy concert hall

Artists

Zubin Mehta, conductor 

Khatia Buniatishvili, pianist 

Concert Program

Mozart: Overture to Don Giovanni (Busoni ending)
Mozart: Piano Concerto no. 20 in D minor, K. 466
Ellington/Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite

Event Info

It is an open and well-known secret that musicians and composers have long had a great interest in the art of jazz. On May 21, 1893, an article by Antonín Dvořák appeared in the New York Herald, in which he wrote "I am now satisfied that the future of music in this country [America] must be founded upon what are called the negro melodies. This must be the real foundation of any serious and original school of composition to be developed in the United States…" (This and the following quotations come from Alex Ross's book "The Rest Is Noise.") In 1916, the Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet wrote enthusiastically to his friend Igor Stravinsky about the "unheard-of music" he encountered during his visit to America. It was not enough for him to simply describe what he heard; he brought his friend recordings and sheet music of Jelly Roll Morton, which Stravinsky later said influenced the writing of his L'Histoire du soldat (The Soldier's Tale). In early 1923, the French Jewish composer Darius Milhaud came to the Capitol Palace in Harlem and wrote with amazement: "Against the beat of the drums the melodic lines crisscrossed in a breathless pattern of broken and twisted rhythms.” In 1926, the American critic Carl Van Vechten wrote that black artists were in possession of “a primitive birthright…that all civilized races were struggling to get back to—this fact explained the art of a Picasso or a Stravinsky.”

The perspective of jazz musicians regarding the infiltration of jazz into classical music was more hesitant. Duke Ellington rejected that a white man could be the composer of a “negro opera,” referring to Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Duke Ellington wrote in the early 1930s: "to attempt to elevate the status of the jazz musician by forcing the level of his best work into comparisons with classical music is to deny him his rightful share of originality.” But when Columbia Records invited Duke Ellington in 1960 to create a record with no stylistic constraints, Ellington responded to his friend Billy Strayhorn's proposal to write his own version of Tchaikovsky's “The Nutcracker.” The result was a melting pot of musical styles, music that met Tchaikovsky's themes and melodies with jazz rhythms, orchestration that featured brass instruments, complex harmonies, and the evocation of a dance hall in a large American city. It is not clear whether the Ellingtonian wink included a hidden satire of the original work, but Ellington turned the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Russian ballet into an alcoholic cherry. The Waltz of the Flowers became sensual and biting, and the American jazz spirit rests on the melodies that Tchaikovsky wrote for the choreographer Marius Petipa in St. Petersburg.

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra plays Tchaikovsky's work alongside and Ellington and Strayhorn's Suite. And as it performs the 1960 jazz version with the original Russian work from 1892 for the Israeli audience, Walt Disney Studios prepares for the upcoming distribution of the 2018 version of the Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Coming soon to a cinema near you.

 Ellington interacted with Tchaikovsky, and now Ferruccio Busoni talks to Mozart. In its original version, the overture to the opera "Don Giovanni" flows directly into the beginning of the first act. Mozart, who had a developed commercial sense, also wrote thirteen final bars for the overture so that it could be performed as an independent work. In 1909, the composer and pianist Ferruccio Busoni composed his own ending to the overture. This is, in fact, one of a long series of "interpretations" that Busoni composed of works written before his time. Who was Ferruccio Busoni and what was his contribution to the history of music?

He was born in April 1866 in Empoli, Italy, and died in Berlin in 1924. He was one of the greatest virtuoso pianists of his time and worked in Austria and Germany. He was an interesting composer, a teacher, an aesthetic philosopher, and a subversive musical theorist. During his life and following his death, Busoni was best known as a pianist with astounding abilities and an important interpreter of Bach, Mozart, and Liszt. He was a staunch opponent of atonal innovation and the denial of the musical traditions by Schoenberg and his followers. He proposed a different aesthetic approach, revolutionary in its simplicity, and called it "Young Classicism."

He developed a special way of using the pedals of the piano, which enabled him to produce a type of legato that had not heard before and which became one of the hallmarks of his playing. He was one of the first virtuosos in the twentieth century to deeply study Mozart's piano concertos, and in general, his repertoire as a performer and arranger was unusual for his time. Like many virtuoso performers, Busoni also worked in composition, but unlike other composers, he saw himself as capable and even necessary to influence his surroundings and perhaps human culture in general as a thinker and intellectual. His motto "The music was born free and to win freedom is its destiny," together with his multilayered perception, enabled him to become well integrated into his various musical activities. "The absolute modern doesn’t exist, only that which has arisen earlier or later, blooming longer or wilting more quickly." Busoni, a man of the present who "updates" Bach, interprets Liszt, writes "anti-histories" of Mozart's concertos, tackles the myth of Dr. Faustus, and references extinct folk tunes and Gregorian music in his works. Busoni tried in his work to bridge time periods and musical styles, and in doing so, he reveals to his audience of listeners, readers, and students a full aesthetic and musical approach that is at once timeless, encompassing, and accessible to all.

It seems everything has already been written about Mozart's Piano Concerto in D Minor. But it may be worth noting that the opening of the work took place in the Mehlgrube Casino in Vienna with the composer as soloist. It is one of only two concertos that Mozart wrote in a minor key (the second is the C Minor Concerto, K.491), and as a young pianist, Ludwig Van Beethoven included it in his repertoire, writing his own cadenzas for the first and second movements of the work in 1809.

Price Range

180-550 nis

Duration

approx 2 hours including intermission

Duration

approx 2 hours including intermission

Price range

180-550 nis

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