Overture from Don Giovanni
up the ladies?
I need them more than food or drink
or the very air I breathe! …. Don
his philandering ways is that to be true to one woman is to neglect the
rest. Having travelled Spain breaking the hearts of hundreds of ladies, he
returns to his hometown where his crimes, with steps heavy as lead, begins
to catch up with him.
“The best of all is when a good composer, who understands the stage, and
is talented enough to make sound suggestions, meets an able poet…that true
phoenix” ...Mozart. That
is the first sound of the Overture:
echoing, unyielding footsteps overshadowing Don Giovanni’s own energetic and virile theme which falters and
spends itself just before the curtain rises. Perhaps Vienna preferred
entertainment to social comment because
Giovanni was only moderately successful when it had its first showing
there in May 1788. This must have disappointed Mozart, as this was not the
opera’s premiere. The first performance took place – to great acclaim –
at the Nationaltheater in Prague on the 29 October 1787.
Robert Schumann Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54.
is Schumann’s only completed piano concerto, though not his first attempt.
In 1829, he worked on a concerto in F minor and in 1831, he composed a
concerto in F, however, neither were finished. Together with Tchaikovsky’s
First and Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A, Schumann’s is one of the most beloved of all
Romantic piano concertos. In
several ways, this concerto is a more sensitive and gentler work than its
contemporaries are, yet it lacks nothing in bravura. Until 1845, Schumann
always composed at the piano, and with his unique understanding of the
instrument, it is clear it was written by a pianist for a pianist. He
composed the first movement in Leipzig in 1841 as Fantasie
in A minor though he did not complete the rest of the concerto until
1845. Clara gave the first performance in December 1845 in Dresden with
Ferdinand Hiller conducting. She also gave its second performance on 1
January 1846, when Mendelssohn conducted it in Leipzig where it was highly
Schumann’s ‘Spring’ Symphony has literary connotations, the Piano Concerto in A minor has no programme to help us understand it. Simply, it is a romantic study
in complete music and one may be tempted to read into it an expression of
the love Schumann felt for Clara. After all, in the first movement, Affettuoso
Johann Sebastian Bach
Concerto in F minor, BWV 1056.
Bach often looked through his
earlier compositions to find the material for his new works. In the BWV 1056,
he combines the two fast movements of a violin concerto and the slow movement
of an oboe concerto; both have later vanished. The largo movement from the BWV
1056 later provided the material for the overture of cantata BWV 156 “Ich
steh mit einem Fuss im Grabe”. Clearly a string of compositions links
the young Bach in Weimar with the older Bach in Leipzig composing the first
piano concertos in our musical literature.