Music as a result of pure inspiration was a rarity in the era of classicism, where compositions were usually commissioned by a duke or emperor. Of the compositions included in the program of the Friday concert, only the Flute and Harp Concerto KV 299 was a commissioned piece, with the opera "The Magic Flute" and the Symphony in G minor KV 550 a prelude to a new era, free of the feudal bond between the composer and the aristocrat.
If you think hard enough about it, it should be noted that there is probably a no more revolutionary work than the "The Magic Flute" among the 18th century operas. This was not the result of an order by some prince craving new entertainment, but rather, the idea for this opera was born in his circle of friends. Emanuel Schikaneder (impresario and singer), Karl Ludwig Giesecke (German actor and librettist) and Mozart together created this amazing story of Prince Tamino, so rich in adventure. This frivolous story, full of creatures, strange forest beings and explosions (already at that time people were keen on special effects!), soon turned into an operative treatise on good and evil, wisdom and madness, security and fear.
The most revolutionary issue had been hidden in the story of the main character – Tamino: here he will become a nobleman after undergoing a series of trials. So it is not birth but man's deeds that will decide his value! There is no question that such a revolutionary content (corresponding to the events in France) was related to Freemason ideology – all three of these men were Masons. Therefore, in the opera, for example, the number three is omnipresent. The key of the overture, E flat major (three flat), the initial chord repeated three times, three ladies, three boys, etc. It is also an interesting fact that after a slow introduction in the overture we hear a fugato (a reference to fugue) – a clear sign of the last most mature period in Mozart's artistic activity, when the musical past met with the avant-garde of the present.
Symphony No. 40 in G minor KV 550 is like the centerpiece in a series of three symphonic works (no. 39 and 41). We have no information on any specific order for these pieces, but we know that they were written in a difficult year for the artist, in 1788, when he wrote letters begging for a loan to the Puchberg (canvas merchant) almost as often as music. He had nothing to support himself, being suspended between "fear and hope" (Immer zwischen Angst und Hoffnung, the words of Mozart himself). Audiences of the classical period were not interested in anyone else's dramas, even if they were covered by the impeccable corset of the classical form. That is why the Symphony in G minor was not breaking any records of popularity at that time. It is real anxiety, fear and even anguish that were accompanying the artist that are expressed here. . This is not a Mozart-birdman or a Mozart-joker. Instead of a musical Till Eulenspiegel, we met, as in " The Flute", an author struck by the cannon balls of fate.
In the solo part of the concert we will listen to Joanna Kowalczyk, usually first flute in the Szczecin Philharmonic, and Hungarian harpist Mira Farkas, a graduate of the F. Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. Performing Mozart's concert will probably be a pleasant change for the romantic artist – let's note that most of the solo repertoire on this instrument dates back to the 19th century. The ladies will perform the double concerto for flute and harp KV299. This striking composition was created during Mozart's stay in Paris in April 1778. It is built in a classic form of three parts, and the flute and harp parts are incredibly ingenious. Both instruments retain their character, for example, the flute is songful and joyful, while the harp sounds fairytale-like. Neither dominates, and some musical disputes end with an agreement (i.e. C major).
The fact that this concert was commissioned does of course devalue it, as many compositions had been made on order. At that time Mozart was giving lessons to Marie-Louise-Philippine Bonnières, the youngest daughter of Prince Guînes. The prince, ostensibly an outstanding flutist, ordered a composition from Mozart that he could perform with his daughter. And this is how the masterpiece, and the first exposing the harp, was made. At that time this instrument was known rather in amateur music circles. The music of the 22-year-old composer is still full of airiness, while hardships are about to come. However, this musical play did not end well, because the prince... never settled the bill.
Mikołaj Rykowski PhD
Musicologist and clarinetist, doctorate, and associate at the Department Music Theory at the Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań. Author of a book and numerous articles devoted to the phenomenon of Harmoniemusik – the 18th-century practice of brass bands. Co-author of the scripts "Speaking concerts" and author of the spoken introductions to philharmonic concerts in Szczecin, Poznań, Bydgoszcz and Łódź.