Mozart & The Violin
Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and photo ID will be required to attend this performance.
About This Performance
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5
Caroline Shaw Entr’acte
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter”
Violinist Bella Hristova, “a player of impressive power and control” takes on Mozart’s striking Violin Concerto No.5 (The Washington Post). Then Shaw’s soulful Entr’acte and Mozart’s final “Jupiter” Symphony, with its groundbreaking counterpoint in the last movement, bring the 21/22 season to a close.
Read more in the program notes below.
Health and Safety
Vaccine and Mask Requirements
All guests 12 years of age or older will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination (14 days after completing an FDA or WHO authorized single or two dose vaccine) for entry into all public events at Kimmel Cultural Campus venues. Adults 18+ will be required to show photo identification with their vaccination proof. “Fully Vaccinated” means that a guest’s event is at least 14 days after their final COVID-19 vaccine dose.
Valid proof of vaccination include: vaccination card, photo or digital copy of proof of vaccination. Proof of negative COVID test will not be accepted, with the exception of children under the age of 12. Guests under the age of 12 must provide proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the performance. Adults 18+ will be required to show government or school issued identification. Guests under 18 will not be required to show identification.
All patrons are required to wear masks inside the venue at all times (except when consuming food or beverage). Drinks and food are not permitted in the theater. Prolonged periods of mask removal are not permitted. All face coverings must cover the nose and mouth and comply with the CDC guidelines for acceptable face coverings.
Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Mozart’s five violin concertos were written in Salzburg, one in 1773 and the other four two years later. One of the most amazing things about these works of Mozart’s teens is the understanding they show of the concerto principle. It was an understanding beyond that of his most distinguished contemporaries. It eluded many of his successors completely, and even Beethoven was not to master it fully till he was about 30.
Among Mozart’s predecessors, Bach and a number of the early Italian masters certainly saw the point of the concerto form. It lies essentially in the way the soloist establishes the right to leadership within the ensemble not only by demonstrating technical skill but, just as crucially, through force of personality–through poetry, imagination, intellect, and wit. But Bach and his colleagues were writing in the heyday of the ritornello (the orchestral prelude recurring at intervals in alternation with solo passages, and returning to end the movement as it began). Around the middle of the 18th century, this device began to be combined with the more dynamic sonata principle of themes presented in contrasting keys and reconciled after a central development section.
It was the fusion of these two formal principles that produced the classical concerto as we know it. Mozart was the first composer to perceive all the poetic and dramatic potential of the medium and to fulfill it. It is from his concern for poetry and drama that all the singular features of his concertos arise, and not from any preoccupation with first and second subjects, double expositions, and the like.
At its very first entry the solo violin immediately thrusts the orchestra into the background with seven measures of deeply expressive adagio. It then proves its right to such domination by showing the orchestra that the springy figure originally proposed as “first subject” is really only an accompanimental counterpoint to the far more individual tune it now proceeds to unfold.
The main theme of the candidly romantic slow movement is then introduced by the orchestra before the solo violin takes them up and embellishes them. Then, however, she immediately demonstrates her imaginative powers by expanding the first little two-measure phrase of the orchestral version to a gloriously soaring six measures.
The final rondeau (the French title is Mozart’s own) begins with a deceptively innocent minuet. Before the movement has run its course, the soloist has hustled the orchestra through a series of dance-episodes of ever-increasing vigor. The dizziest of them is in a contrasting 2/4 meter, and includes a passage in exotic style where cellos and basses play with the wood of their bows; it is from this episode that the unofficial nickname “Turkish” sometimes given to the concerto derives. The soloist, having led the charge in the first place, reimposes order with two further statements of the graceful minuet tune, ornamenting it more fancifully at each recurrence. And, inevitably, it is the soloist again who has the last word, an epigrammatic stroke that leaves us hanging on her next utterance–only to find that she has already finished.
Caroline Shaw (b. 1982)
Caroline Shaw is a musician who moves among roles, genres, and mediums, trying to imagine a world of sound that has never been heard before but has always existed. She is the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in Music for Partita for 8 Voices (Roomful of Teeth), and she works often in collaboration with others, as producer, composer, violinist, and vocalist. 2022 will see the release of work with Rosalía (on upcoming album MOTOMAMI), the score to Josephine Decker’s film The Sky Is Everywhere (A24/Apple), the premiere of Justin Peck’s Partita with NY City Ballet, the premiere of the new stage work LIFE with Gandini Juggling and the Merce Cunningham Trust, a premiere for NY Philharmonic and Roomful of Teeth, the premiere Wu Tsang’s silent film Moby Dick with live score for Zurich Chamber Orchestra co-composed with Andrew Yee, a second album with Attacca Quartet called The Evergreen (Nonesuch), the premiere of Helen Simoneau’s Delicate Power, tours of Graveyards & Gardens (immersive dance theater work co-created with Vanessa Goodman), and tours with So Percussion featuring songs from Let The Soil Play Its Simple Part (Nonesuch), amid occasional chamber music appearances (Chamber Music Society of Minnesota, Caramoor Festival, La Jolla Music Society). Caroline has written over 100 works in the last decade, for Anne Sofie von Otter, Davóne Tines, Yo Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, LA Phil, Philharmonia Baroque, Seattle Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Aizuri Quartet, The Crossing, Dover Quartet, Calidore Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Miro Quartet, I Giardini, Ars Nova Copenhagen, Ariadne Greif, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Britt Festival, Vail Dance Festival, and many others. She has produced for Kanye West, Rosalía, Woodkid, and Nas. Her work as vocalist or composer has appeared in several films, tv series, and podcasts including The Humans, Bombshell, Yellowjackets, Maid, Dark, Beyonce’s Homecoming, jeen-yuhs: a Kanye Trilogy, Dolly Parton’s America, and More Perfect.
“Entr’acte was written in 2011 after hearing the Brentano Quartet play Haydn’s Op. 77 No. 2 — with their spare and soulful shift to the D-flat major trio in the minuet. It is structured like a minuet and trio, riffing on that classical form but taking it a little further. I love the way some music (like the minuets of Op. 77) suddenly takes you to the other side of Alice’s looking glass, in a kind of absurd, subtle, technicolor transition.”
Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
In the evolution of the symphonic form from its opera-overture origins into the most important genre of serious orchestral music, Mozart’s 25th Symphony–like the 40th, in G Minor–must in 1773 have seemed an amazing, indeed a shocking, intrusion, with its uncompromising emphasis on the darkest and most disruptive aspects of the minor mode. 15 years later, having established himself, however precariously, in Vienna as a freelance composer, Mozart completed the emancipation of the symphony with his last three works in the form, Nos. 39, 40, and 41.
Reams have been written about the strongly individual and vividly contrasting emotional characters of the E-flat-Major, G-Minor, and C-Major symphonies. Perhaps the first and clearest clue is to be found in the different physical sounds the three works make–in their carefully differentiated instrumentation. No. 40 in G-Minor in its final version has both oboes and clarinets, but no trumpets or drums. Much more unusually, No. 39 in E-flat Major, which includes trumpets and drums, has clarinets but no oboes.
Coming after the inward-turned passion of the G-Minor work, No. 41 in C Major, known for no particular reason but with a certain aptness as the “Jupiter,” was to revert with a vengeance to trumpets and drums, and in it Mozart used oboes but no clarinets. Accordingly, as soon as the music starts, we find that the respective warmth and intimacy of the two preceding works are here replaced by dignity, power, brilliance, and a formal, almost abstract, kind of grandeur. The very cut of the opening theme symbolizes these qualities. Again and again, the vein of formality in this highly extrovert work is underlined by fanfare-like drum-and-trumpet motifs. But there is no reason to equate extroversion with lack of emotional depth. The C-Major Symphony looks outward more than its companion works, but it does not for that reason say less.
It is often the ability to turn formula to dazzlingly individual effect that characterizes the great masters of musical classicism. Mozart’s tonic-dominant figures, and especially his finale theme (the most commonplace tag of 18th-century contrapuntal practice), are as clearly traditional in origin as are Beethoven’s C-Major scales and arpeggios in the last movement of his Fifth Symphony. Yet nobody could for a moment confuse the one composer with the other, or either of them with anyone else.
As in all of Mozart’s mature symphonies except the “Haffner,” which grew out of a serenade, all the movements of K. 551 other than the minuet are in sonata form. The powerful drama of the first two movements’ development sections bears witness to the intensity of Mozart’s absorption in his last symphonic essay. This intensity rises to unprecedented heights in the finale, whose contrapuntal complexity has sometimes led commentators to call it a fugue. But what Mozart achieved here is something more wonderful than a fugue. The movement is a perfect fusion of fugal and sonata elements, and perhaps its most breathtaking moments are those where polyphonic fantasy suddenly gives place to the most matter-of-fact sonata-style cadence figures just as if nothing out of the way had happened. Passion and imagination are, after all, not especially rare traits. It is his gift for blending them with the most flawless urbanity that makes Mozart the miracle he is.
Musicians in this performance
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
300 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19102