Bart van Oort
Amercian Classical Orchestra

Jun 05, 2014

American Classical Orchestra - Prague, Golden City of Music


Thursday, June 5, 2014 - Concert: 8:00PM Alice Tully Hall

Thomas Crawford, Conductor

Prague, Golden City of Music

7:00PM Pre-Concert Lecture by Thomas Crawford

Symphony No. 38, ‘Prague’ – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Symphony in D - Josef Myslivecek

Piano Concerto No. 1, Opus 15 - Ludwig van Beethoven - Bart van Oort, piano

Sounds of Moldavia Waltz - Johann Strauss, Sr.

The American Classical Orchestra’s season finale on June 5th, 2014 is a concert of music written in or for Prague at the end of the 18th century. Prague is an ancient and fabled city that has attracted Europe’s greatest musicians for centuries. The city remained enamored of Mozart even in his later years. The young Beethoven chose The Golden City to premiere his first piano concerto with himself as soloist. Dvorak and Smetana hailed from Prague, and it remains today a cultural capital for painters, poets, philosophers and architects.

Long before Mozart’s popular successes in Prague, Leopold and Wolfgang Amadeus had befriended and admired Prague’s finest composer Josef Myslivecek. A favorite Czech musician, he wrote excellent compositions in all idioms, opera, chamber music, and symphony. The ACO will perform a high-spirited Symphony in D, scored for oboes, horns and strings. It was premiered in Prague around 1770.

The great Prague Symphony, written in 1786, is considered by musicians, scholars, and audiences alike to be among Mozart’s most important masterpieces. Perhaps it was Mozart’s happiness and confidence with the people of Prague, or perhaps it was just his maturing artistry, but the Prague Symphony breaks new ground when compared with his prior work. The work starts and ends with a significantly higher level of virtuosity. Mozart’s father cautioned him against writing music that would be too difficult for an orchestra, but the self-assured composer broke with tradition and surely put the Prague musicians on the edge of their seats. The writing for wind instruments is more advanced, the rhythms more complex, the harmonies more varied than ever. The opening flourishes burst out with unprecedented command.

Beethoven was in his late twenties when he composed his first of five ingenious piano concertos. Yet, already by the time he premiered Concerto No. 1 in Prague in 1800, he was experiencing hearing loss. He developed an early reputation as a piano virtuoso and composer, and his contributions to the piano concerto genre would be seminal. The debut of his first major concerted work was a great success. This was due to his emergence as a revolutionary thinker, a bold new voice in the already popular piano concerto genre. No one in Prague, nor anywhere else, had heard such a use of the piano, such radical key changes, such extraordinary dynamic contrasts, as Beethoven employed in his very first concerto.

Dutch pianist Bart Van Oort makes his ACO debut with this concert. A leading authority in performance practice on early pianos, he is a professor at the Royal Academy in The Hague. Mr. Van Oort will perform on a replica of a 1791 Anton Walter fortepiano as played by Beethoven.