Mozart on Tour

November 1 to 13


In November, Stingray Classica presents the series Mozart on Tour. Beginning on November 1st, discover a new episode every day until November 13! The documentary series chronicles Mozart's childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and his travels throughout Europe, which ultimately proved to be a futile quest for fame and fortune. Each episode of Mozart on Tour is centred on a different European city and combines narration and musical excerpts. Conductor and composer André Prévin sets the historical and musical context, while actor Michael Kitchen (Foyle's War) reads excerpts from Mozart's travel correspondence. Each episode also features a complete performance of one of Mozart's 27 Piano Concerti, performed by world-renowned soloists, orchestras and maestros in carefully chosen historical settings.

November 1 at 19:40 | Episode 1: London

This episode covers one of Mozart's childhood visit to the British capital (1764-1765), where he and his family were idolized by the royal court and encountered some of the foremost musicians of that time. German Johann Christian Bach (the son of the great Johann Sebastian) and Karl Friedrich Abel (one of the Thomaskantor's prize pupils) had spent significant phases of their musical development in Italy and consequently influenced Mozart’s style. In this episode, Vladimir Ashkenazy performs as a soloist and conductor in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12, KV 414. He is accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hampton Court Palace, London.

November 2 at 18:45 | Episode 2: Mantua

Take a trip with the Mozart family to the Italian Alps where they encountered a culture that would influence Wolfgang Amadeus’ music forever. The “Manzuoli style” of virtuoso singing, the Italian school of composition, and the pianoforte had a profound impact on Mozart' s creativity. Two of Mozart's earliest piano concerti were “pasticcio” arrangements for piano and orchestra, based on works by other composers. Even at this early age, his works possessed the indelible imprint of the sublime musical master. Discover the soloist Heidrun Holtmann as she performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 1, KV 37 and Piano Concerto No. 4, KV 41, accompanied by the Orchestra della Radiotelevisione della Svizzera. Conducted by Marc Andreae, the performance took place at the historic Teatro Bibiena in Mantua.

November 3 at 16:10 | Episode 3: Milan and Bologna

If Italy is the wellspring of music, the city of Bologna is its ultimate source. The illustrious Bologna conservatory has educated the world’s greatest composers and musicians. Although Mozart was too young to study at the conservatory, he still took the entrance examination to prove his talent. In this episode, Malcolm Frager performs Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 5, KV 175, a work of contrapuntal writing, a style that Mozart perfected under Padre Martini's tutelage. Discover the Orchestra della Radiotelevisione della Svizzera and conducted by Marc Andreae, at the Teatro Bibiena in Mantua.

November 4 at 19:45 | Episode 4: Mannheim

During his stay in Mannheim, from 1777 to 1778, Mozart made several decisive encounters for his musical development. He discovered the Mannheim Orchestra and its school of composition, which have had a significant influence on his work. The artistic and sentimental life of the young composer was also transformed by his years in Mannheim: it was in the German city that he met the musical copyist Fridolin Weber and his daughters, who had a great influence on him. Mozart immediately fell in love with the youngest, Aloysia; he wrote the role of the Queen of the night of The Magic Flute for the eldest, Josepha; and eventually married the youngest, Constanze. In this episode, Christian Zacharias performs Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 6, KV 238, accompanied by the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart under the direction of Gianluigi Gelmetti. This concert was recorded at Schwetzingen palace, where the Mannheim elector’s court would spend their summers.

November 5 at 15:45 | Episode 5 : Schwetzingen

Not only was Mozart unlucky in love in Mannheim, but he also failed to achieve his ambition of becoming a court composer. The young lady Antonia Lützow, for whom he wrote his Piano Concerto No. 8, was not a very accomplished performer, but in all its simplicity, this concerto is seldom short of sublime. In this episode, soloist Christian Zacharias performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 8, KV 246, accompanied by the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart and conducted by Gianluigi Gelmetti. The concert took place in Schwetzingen palace, where the Mannheim Elector’s court spent their summers.

November 6 at 21:45 | Episode 6: Paris

The city of Salzburg, Mozart's birthplace influenced his peripatetic life. He hated the city and despised working for the Archbishop of Salzburg as a servant, a musical servant writing only for the pleasure of the Archbishop. In 1777, he left for Paris to find a new job, but his stay was no gaîté Parisienne. He received few job offers and his beloved mother, who had accompanied him, became violently ill and died. In a Salzburg Festival performance, the Mozarteum Orchestra and pianist Mitsuko Uchida, under the baton of Jeffrey Tate, play Piano Concerto No. 9, KV 271. This piece was nicknamed “Jeunehomme” but was composed for Victoire Jeramy, the daughter of Mozart’s friend, dancer and choreographer Jean-Georges Noverre.

November 7 at 18:50 | Episode 7: Vienna – I

In Vienna, Mozart experienced the highest and lowest points of his life. Traveling in the retinue of his ecclesiastical employer, Archbishop Colloredo of Salzburg, Wolfgang was fired from his job; too proud to follow his father's example and beg for his old position, Wolfgang found himself abandoned, friendless, and destitute. But whom did he run into, but the Webers from Mannheim. Mozart fell madly in love with Constanze, an ingenious young woman who would do anything to win her man's heart. The tumultuous union of Mozart and Constanze is today considered one of the greatest love stories of all time. The performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17, KV 453 was recorded at the Imperial Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna and features soloist Dezsö Ránki and the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by JeffreyTate.

November 8 at 19:50 | Episode 8: Vienna II

With Wolfgang and Constanze comfortably ensconced in Vienna, he enhanced his artistic position as the focal point of several musical academies and large-scale concert presentations. Mozart’s relationship with his father Leopold was tense, as he made little secret of his distaste for what he considered his son's rather frivolous lifestyle. However, when Franz Joseph Haydn thanked Leopold for his contribution to the musical education of the man he declared to be the greatest composer he had ever known, Mozart’s father reconciled with his son. Under the baton of Jiri Belohlávek, soloist Ivan Klánský is accompanied by the Prague Chamber Orchestra during his performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, KV 466 at the Waldstein palace in Prague.

November 9 at 22:35 | Episode 9 : Vienna and Prague

Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro asks basic questions about the relationships of men and women, the aristocracy and their servants, and is, to this day, the most mature and genuine human operatic composition ever written. With sublimely beautiful music that supports, intensifies, and enhances the drama every step of the way, the Piano Concerto No. 24, KV 491 is solid drama from start to finish, with a minor harmonic structure reminiscent of Don Giovanni. In this performance, recorded at Schönbrunn palace in Vienna, Andre Previn is the soloist and conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

November 10 at 18:40 | Episode 10: Prague

In 1786, Mozart was invited to Prague to conduct his Le nozze di Figaro, an opera more controversial than successful at its Viennese premiere earlier that year. The composition took the Czech capital completely by storm and resulted in the commission of a new opera, Don Giovanni. In this episode, Hungarian pianist Zoltán Kocsis joins Czech conductor Jiri Belohlávek and the Prague Chamber Orchestra at the great hall of Wallenstein palace in Prague for a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, KV 488. Everything about this piano concert is operatic in approach and execution, from the grand drama of the opening bars to the sublime vocal lyricism of the central movement, and to the soaring melody of the finale.

November 11 at 18:45 | Episode 11: Frankfurt

When Austria's Emperor Leopold II went to the congress city of Frankfurt to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1790, Mozart hoped to be honored with a commission for a coronation work. The results were disastrous: Antonio Salieri received the commission for a coronation opera and Mozart was asked to write and perform a piano concerto for the coronation ceremonies, a work that was virtually ignored at the time of its creation. In this episode, soloist Radu Lupu performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 19, KV 459 with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, under the baton of David Zinman. The recording took place at the Imperial Hall in Munich.

November 12 at 19:50 | Episode 12: Munich

The Bavarian capital of Munich was always one of Mozart's favorite places - it saw important performances of many of his major instrumental works and hosted the world premiere of his monumental opera seria Idomeneo, re di Creta. The first edition of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 26, KV 537, also written for the coronation of Emperor Leopold II in 1790, is remarkable because it doesn't contain all the notes for the solo part. This method prevented the music from falling into the hands of dishonest copyists, but more importantly, it shows that pianists had to improvise the necessary harmonies, sometimes at sight based on musical sketches. Soloist Homero Francesch performs Mozart’s Piano Concert No. 26, KV 537 with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Wilhelm Keitel. This performance was recorded at Munich's residence.

November 13 at 19:40 | Episode 13:  Vienna III

In 1791, with his life cruelly and rapidly ending, Mozart once again turned to the compositional style which reflected his personality: the concerto for piano and orchestra. His last piano concerto, which turned out to be an uplifting composition, regales its audience with a lyrical children's song, invoking the joys of youth and springtime. In a fitting finale to this series, soloist Aleksander Madzar and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Andre Previn join forces in a performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27, KV 595, recorded at Vienna's Schönbrunn palace.