Ouverture from the Operetta ›Candide‹
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Piano concerto No. 12 in A major, KV 414
Symphonie Nr. 6 h-Moll ›Pathétique‹
- Fazıl Say – Piano
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
About the concert
There are many connections between the composers whose works will be heard in this concert conducted by Yutaka Sado. Leonard Bernstein was a passionate conductor of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s ‘Pathétique’, played as the evening’s closing piece, and during his infrequent appearances as a pianist liked to interpret piano concertos by Mozart, who in turn was perhaps Tchaikovsky’s most admired “colleague” throughout his life. Finally, the programme’s soloist Fazıl Say is both a pianist and a composer, just as Mozart and Bernstein were.
The dramaturgy leads from the rousing and humorous overture of the operetta ‘Candide’ to the deep despair that sets in at the end of Tchaikovsky’s last symphony. Incidentally, the famous main theme of the overture, like the dance-like second movement of the Sixth Symphony, is in the rather unusual quintuple time. Bernstein’s ‘Candide’, which is based on Voltaire’s novel of the same name and which the composer fundamentally revised twice over the course of more than 30 years after its unsuccessful premiere in 1956, represents his most important contribution to music theatre alongside ‘West Side Story’, and the overture is one of his most effective pieces for the concert hall. No programme has survived for the ‘Pathétique’, whose premiere in October 1893 Tchaikovsky conducted a few days before his death; however, the evoked moods of loneliness, love, waltzing bliss and the nearness of death give the impression of looking back at an entire lifetime.
In a letter to his father, Mozart wrote about the A major Concerto K. 414 and several other contributions to the genre composed at the same time, “The concertos are precisely the middle ground between too difficult and too easy.” The perhaps unintentionally unfathomable formulation – what could there be between the too difficult and the too easy? – beautifully characterises the enigma of Mozart’s music. The unmistakable combination of elegance and profundity, cheerfulness and melancholy is predictably in the best of hands with Fazıl Say, in whose repertoire Mozart has always played a central role.