Significant changes in people and their circumstances with the rise of the middle classes in the eighteenth century meant that appreciating choral and instrumental music for a much wider audience in Europe and England, followed. This led by the end of the era, to an increase in the availability of concerts both sacred and secular.
King George III 1760 – 1811 and Queen Charlotte of England were on the throne and Captain Cook was landing in Australia when Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) was just fourteen years of age and already an accomplished piano, organ and violin player.
His knowledge of musical composition by this stage was one only expected from a man seasoned in his profession. His travels around Europe with his father and sister since he had been a small child meant he was able to unite the musical treasures of all nations.
It is not really enough to say content and form both balance each other in Mozart’s music, for his unity is also about style.
The beauty of the music Mozart made his creed was not only fully attained in instrumental music, but also with the human voice.
In his opera The Magic Flute, his ideas and motifs echo those of the so-called Enlightenment philosophy: the Queen of the Night is a dangerous power who can only be overcome by knowledge.
Some 222 years later, Mozart is still ‘top of the pops’ because during his lifetime he did not lose his ‘magic’ touch, or that sense of the inspiring joyous child within. The music he composed today still reflects his own joy of life and it is no surprise many consider him the rock star musician of his day.
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) conducted by British ‘Firebrand’ conductor and Fortepiano and Harpsichord player Richard Egarr, will in July 2017, be celebrating the life and legacy of the works from the master composer by presenting a Mozart Festival: The Man, The Music, The Mayhem
Tickets are already selling fast!
You can explore the music of Mozart’s time: in his lifetime the prevailing fashion brought about changes in the economic order and social structure of society highlighted by the return of the classical style.
This generally favoured a lasting impression of simplicity over complexity, with a taste for structural clarity, an emphasis that worked its way into the world of music.
There are a plethora of fabulous events to attend including:
Friday 14 July at 8pm, Hamer Hall – MSO Plays Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
The opening concert of the Festival features highlights of Mozart’s early career including sharing the letters Mozart himself wrote to family and friends.
Richard Egarr will lead the MSO through the composer’s meteoric rise with such treats as Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, an instantly recognisable piece that will allow you to ‘close your eyes and soak up the music’.
Saturday 15 July at 8pm, Hamer Hall – Mozart 40
What were you doing in your late 20s? Not surprisingly, Mozart was already a superstar, ‘dealing with fame in the only way a wunderkind can’, by writing one of his most famous and recognisable works. The MSO will perform the Symphony No.40 followed by Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23 featuring South African pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout.
No stranger to Australian shores, South African born London based Kristian Bezuidenhout began his studies here as a young man.
He has an ability to create an extraordinary sense of excitement in concert and I have had the privilege of being there when he played works by Mozart.
Widely considered the greatest pianist of his own time, Mozart was a great improviser and his works exhibit both his strengths and personal proclivities, which Bezuidenhout is sure to exploit here.
Saturday 15 July at 2pm at NGV International | FREE – MSO at NGV: Mozart and Boccherini
Explore the music and artistic landscape of Mozart’s time as the MSO perform excerpts of Mozart’s classics and experts discuss the portrait of Luigi Boccherini by an unknown artist, a cellist, composer and contemporary of Mozart.
Saturday 15 July at 3.15pm at NGV International | FREE – FILM: In Search of Mozart
Made to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth, this 2006 documentary was produced with the world’s leading orchestras and musicians and is told through a 25,000-mile journey along every route Mozart followed.
Friday 21 July at 8pm, Hamer Hall – Mozart’s Requiem
By the time he was 35, Mozart was gone, his now famous requiem left unfinished, which has in no way decreased its power to amaze. A notable feature of the music Mozart composed was his ability to write for a range of skill-sets and to combine successfully voices of great virtuosity.
Richard Egarr, the MSO and MSO Chorus will perform this near hour-long work highlighted by four of Australia’s most extraordinary vocalists joining in: soprano Sara MacLiver, contralto Fiona Campbell, tenor Andrew Goodwin and bass Christopher Richardson.
Saturday 22 July at 10am, 11am, 12pm & 1pm, Iwaki Auditorium – Jams for Juniors
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik will be the staple diet at Jams for juniors where children aged 0-5 and their carers will be able to shake, rattle and roll their booty to the melodic sounds of Mozart.
Saturday 22 July at 7pm, Sunday 23 July at 1pm, Hamer Hall – Amadeus Live in Concert
This Mozart-themed festival would be incomplete without the 8-time Academy Award® winning film Amadeus. Watch the film on the big screen while the MSO and MSO Chorus perform the score.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2017
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra