Time to Celebrate Zubin Mehta with pianist Fazil Say

זובין מהטה

Date

11.10.2019

Friday 14:00

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 

Fazil Say, Pianist 

Concert Program

Mozart: Concerto no. 23 in A major for piano and orchestra, K. 488
R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben

Event Info

The 2019-20 season’s opening concerts are Maestro Zubin Mehta’s last before his retirement. As a personal tribute to him, a host of stars and close friends of the Maestro and Orchestra are set to perform. In this concert, as part of the closing festivities of the Jubilee celebrations, we hear Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 23, played by Fazil Say, and Richard Strauss’s symphonic poem "Ein Heldenleben."

About Composers and Superheroes:

According to Mozart's own catalogue, he finished composing Concerto no. 23 in A major on 2 March 1786, a particularly prolific period when he was hard at work on The Marriage of Figaro, yet simultaneously writing a one-act Singspiel The Impresario - and three piano concertos. While this concerto leans towards being symphonic in conception, it is also memorable for moments of the utmost intimacy and delicacy. Unlike other concertos composed around the same time, this concerto does not begin with a solo theme for the piano on its entry. The use of the clarinet is also significant. In a letter of September 1786 to the valet of Prince Fürstenberg, Mozart writes: "...There are two clarinets in the A major concerto. Should his Highness not have clarinets at his court, a competent copyist might transpose the parts into the suitable keys, in which case the first part should be played by a violin and the second by a viola." Clearly, Mozart associated the clarinet with a certain mood and with works of special character, commonly in A major, and oboes were thought an inappropriate substitute for the mood of this piece.

Although Concerto no. 23 attained a level of popularity achieved by no other Mozart concerto, it was not published during Mozart's lifetime.

Apparently, Mozart himself withheld the piece from publication. In a letter to his father, he cites it as being amongst "the compositions that I keep for myself or for a small circle of music-lovers and connoisseurs, who promise not to let them out of their hands."

Even when his finances were stretched, he retained it as a personal treasure. Perhaps this decision reflects another measure of Mozart's aptitude for commerce. It is possible that he decided to keep this gem from his competitors. Consequently, the only way to hear this concerto was to attend a concert by its creator.

 Richard Strauss composed the symphonic poem "Ein Heldenleben" in 1898 when he was 34. The work marks the end of the "symphonic poem era” which gave Strauss fame and success. Strauss's symphonic poems offered the audience a different perspective on abstract symphonic music. From a conceptual point of view, symphonic poems relied on extra-musical material that was largely accessible to the audience, whether Nietzsche's philosophy or Strauss's interpretation of a folkloric character like Till Eulenspiegel. There was a new feeling of connection between the composer's intention and his audience. Of course, one must also look at the symphonic poem as another means for nineteenth-century composers to free themselves from the classical symphonic form.

"Ein Heldenleben" is the last of Strauss’s symphonic poems, after which he turned his energy mainly to the operatic genre, and is not based on concrete extra-musical thought. Strauss himself replied when asked: "All you have to imagine is that in the background of the work there is a hero and that he—the hero—successfully defeats his enemies.“ One could go out on a limb and assert that the first “superheroes” were created in “Ein Heldenleben" ... in fact if one closes his eyes and travels back in time, he cannot avoid seeing Strauss as the spiritual-musical father of composers such as John Williams and Hans Zimmer. The heroic representations in the work are clear. One can leave it to the professionals to speculate as to why the horns (Strauss’s father’s instrument) play such an important role in the piece. But in any case, the drama, conflicts, and climaxes in this piece are presented in a clear and enjoyable way. One can think of the work as a soundtrack that is ahead of its time. It is composed in six clearly distinguished episodes; each one has a dramatic and unique musical characterization, and all highlight Strauss’s incredible orchestration abilities. It isn’t for nothing the work has been beloved by conductors, almost from the day it was first performed.

Text: Rivka Shindler, Prof. Oded Zehavi

Price Range

Duration

approx 90 minutes including intermission

Duration

approx 90 minutes including intermission

Price range

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