Date: Saturday, November 16th, 2019
Time: 7:30PM Concert Begins
* 6:45 – Pre-concert talks are open to all ticket holders
Place: Memorial Auditorium
1300 7th St
Wichita Falls, TX
Join us for a musical journey into the stories of Rossini, Mozart, and Beethoven. Engage in an evening of comedy, intrigue, and passion expressed in the stories of three great composers.
Gioachino Rossini: Overture to The Barber of Seville (1816)
Rossini’s chief legacy was his contribution to the operatic repertoire, including The Italian Girl in Algiers (1813) and The Barber of Seville (1816), two cornerstones of opera buffa, or comic opera. Similar highpoints of the genre include Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (1786) and Cosi fan tutte (1790). As opposed to opera seria (serious opera), which often drew its stories from ancient Greek and Roman myth and history, opera buffa brought a freshness to musical drama by highlighting common people, settings, and everyday language. The libretto of Barber is drawn from the first of three plays in a trilogy by French dramatist Beaumarchais, who depicts a bumbling nobility dependent upon and manipulated by their servants. Like Barber, Mozart’s Figaro comes from Beaumarchais’ trilogy. In Rossini’s opera, we see the amorous young Count Almaviva’s attempts to win the heart and hand of the beautiful Rosina away from her ward, the older Dr. Bartolo, who himself wants to marry her. Rossini’s much-beloved overture was not actually composed for The Barber of Seville—the original was lost in transit between Rome and Bologna. Rather than try to recreate the original score, or compose a new one, Rossini simply replaced it with one he had written three years earlier for the historical opera Elizabetta. Nine years after its premiere, Barber was the first opera in America to be sung in Italian.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 25 in G minor (1773)
The seventeen year old Mozart had just come off of three trips to Italy with his father between 1769–1773 when he wrote his Symphony No. 25 in G minor. During this same period, he also composed many of his early masterworks, including the first thirteen of his piano sonatas, some of his best known violin concertos (Nos. 3, 4 and 5), and numerous sonatas for violin and piano, divertimenti, and serenades. What makes the Symphony No. 25 unique in Mozart’s oeuvre, other than the fact that it is one of only two symphonies he composed in a minor key, is that it was part of a sudden spate of minor key symphonies which appeared in the late 1760s and early 1770s composed in the Strum und Drang (“storm and stress”) style, which took its name from a prominent German literary movement of the late 18th century as epitomized in the work of Goethe and Schiller. Strum und Drang found its musical expression in minor keys, syncopated rhythms, and melodic leaps emphasizing creative individuality, boldness, and passion. The opening Allegro con brio and closing Allegro movements in Mozart’s symphony highlight the style, with their dramatically articulated use of tremolando and angular melodies. As with Haydn’s Symphony No 39 in G minor, Mozart’s is orchestrated unusually for four horns, pairs of oboes and bassoons, and strings.
Ludwig Von Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 (1812)
One could argue that Beethoven’s career was framed by the two composers discussed above—early on, Mozart-as-model was pushed onto the young Beethoven by his father; at the end of his career, Rossini’s melodious The Barber of Seville had taken Vienna by storm, acting as a kind of counterweight to Beethoven’s serious, tumultuous, and often inscrutable later works. Although he briefly studied with both Haydn and Salieri in Vienna, his admiration for the Napoleonic ideology of self-made greatness that was sweeping much of Western Germany under the French occupation, led Beethoven to push himself to achieve artistic greatness by expanding the traditional stylistic limits as far as possible. The Symphony No. 7 falls at the tail end of Beethoven’s Middle Period (1804-1812), which is characterized by an emotional directness coupled with a sense of urgency and expressiveness. The Symphony No. 7 was completed in 1812, an eventful year for the often-depressed, isolated, and seriously deafened Beethoven; among other things, he finally met his literary idol Goethe, whose Strung und Drang style was so influential to Mozart’s Symphony No. 25. Wholly abstract, the Seventh marks a definitive break with the stylistic conventions perfected by Mozart and Haydn; here we begin to see Beethoven stretch the rules as he expands on the work anticipated by his predecessors in new and unexpected ways that sheds light on the Romanticism to come.