Ravel and Mozart's "Linz" Symphony on Classical Showcase
Classical Showcase airs this evening at 7 pm on Classical 101 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Gustavo Dudamel. This program, recorded in Walt Disney Concert Hall features two works by Mozart with Ravel's Piano Concerto in G in between. Mozart's enjoyable Serenata Notturna written in Salzburg in 1776, opens the concert. With its part for timpani percussion, the Serenade No. 6 in D has always seemed somewhat oddly titled to me, since it is a pretty lively and loud piece for a "nighttime" serenade. But it does fall into the tradition of outdoor music performed in the evenings. Apparently, Mozart's father Leopold wrote the title on the original manuscript. French pianist Helene Grimaud is the soloist in Maurice Ravel's jazz-inspired concerto from 1931. Well, the first movement anyway, sounds like Gershwin with French refinement--and that was no accident. The two of them had first met a few years earlier, and Ravel enjoyed George Gershwin's music and American jazz. The second movement is another story altogether. Here, the spirit of Mozart prevails. And then, in the finale, the spirit of fun takes over in this wonderful concerto. Mozart's Symphony No. 36 in C, the Linz, closes the concert with a work that was said to be written in only four days. This composition from 1783 certainly shows no signs of haste and belongs to that group of his last five great symphonies, culminating in No. 41, the Jupiter, from 1788. Mozart and his wife Constanza were on their back to Vienna after visiting Mozart's father in Salzburg, when they stopped for several days in the Austrian town of Linz. The local count quickly organized a concert for which Mozart wrote this outstanding symphony "at breakneck speed," as he wrote to Leopold in a letter. You can hear Classical Showcase tonight at 7 here on Classical 101.