Thursday, September 28, 2006

Program notes on Mozart by our soloist

Pianist Frédéric Lacroix has performed in the United States, Canada and Taiwan. He has most recently appeared with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Cornell Chamber Orchestra, Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and Ensembre Fusions. He has also performed in programs of CBC Radio and NPR. While he also the privileged to premiere a number of works by American and Canadian composers, he devotes some time to his own compositions. Lacroix holds degrees from the University of Montreal and the University of Ottawa, where he studied with Marc Durand and Cynthia Floyd. He is currently a doctoral student at Cornell University, where he is studying performance practice with Malcolm Bilson.

Following his departure from Salzburg in 1781, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart settled in Vienna and embarked on a series of successful business and artistic ventures, becoming a thriving freelance musician in an era dominated by a system of patronage. The early Vienna years were marked by the prodigious composition of keyboard concertos (there were six completed in 1784, the year of the composition of the keyboard concerto K.453), most of them destined for his own performance at subscription concerts and ‘academies’; the latter being well-attended ‘epic’ concerts which Mozart would organize to showcase himself as performer and composer. The Concerto in G major K.453 was composed for an ‘academie’ given by Mozart’s pupil, Barbara Ployer, on June 10, 1784. While most concertos up to 1784 were composed somewhat pragmatically in a ‘galant’ chamber music style and with allowances for a reduced orchestra in which the wind parts would be optional, Mozart shifted his ideals early that year to create concertos ‘which would be bound to make the performer sweat’. These concertos, starting with the keyboard concerto K.450 are increasingly symphonic in nature and contain significant wind parts, creating a true battle between soloist and orchestra.

Typical of Mozart’s G major, the concerto opens with music that expresses a somewhat naive happiness or contentment. This naiveté soon dissipates as the composer turns the wheel of his kaleidoscope and reveals within this happiness hues of comedy, tenderness, passion and uncertainty. The slow movement is remarkable for its departure from the home key of C major. At first, Mozart seemingly evokes an innocent tenderness, but his use of chromaticism and his far-reaching modulations generate some of his most passionate music. The last movement is composed in variation form, a genre popular with the audiences of the time, and ends with an extensive finale section. The dramatic rhetoric of this movement recalls the operatic discourse; in particular, either by its key or by some of its volubility, it anticipates The Magic Flute. The cadenzas used in today’s performance were composed by Mozart. – Notes by Frédéric Lacroix

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Would anyone know where to find a piece of Mozart's music?