A new concert season has begun and I am glad to be back at the Philharmonie de Luxembourg for many wonderful evenings with delightful music. The first concert I attended featured four quite special works in a row: Bela Bartok’s Romanian Dances, arranged for strings, Felix Mendelssohn’s very first violin concerto (in D minor), again arranged for strings, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s beautiful Serenade for Strings and finally the work I will write about today: Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 6 in B flat major, K. 238. Wow! What a programme! What an evening!
Angry young man, proud young man, what is it that you are trying to hide? Your fierce demeanor will not delude me for I have felt what you feel. The anger, the revolt, the tension – and the arrogance. And over the years I have learned to control these emotional outbursts. Because behind the rage lies the feeling of vulnerability. Ludwig van Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op. 47 fascinates me for the simultaneity of the violence and the fragility it expresses.
Venice and Vienna – two focal points of European culture. Venice and Vienna – two towns that play a major role in the life of the Italian composer Antonio Salieri, the famous counterpart of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Vienna. Who would write the better operas? The established master from Venice or the ambitious young man from Salzburg? Who would win and keep the favour of the Emperor? Whose name will last and whose name will be forgotten? One is tempted to say that Mozart gained the upper hand, but that would not be true. Salieri has precisely not been forgotten, because Mozart, his most fierce competitor, became so popular.
It has been raining last night. The ground was wet, the air damp when I got up today at 6 o’clock. I looked out at the kitchen window and smiled: Beethoven. Mist rolled over the vineyards, a few minutes until sunrise, soon it would be gone and the hills would bath in bright sunlight. Another glorious morning to start the day with. I had to think of that Romantic wanderer who sets out early in the morning for his long voyage across the mountains. He is enthusiastic to discover different countries and people, he is looking forward to adventures and to meet the love of his life. While he climbs the winding mountain path, he looks back to the place he has just left. A heartbreaking moment. He knows he must go, he feels this inner urge, there is no turning back. And still, leaving home to meet the unknown…