• English Baroque Soloists
  • English Baroque Soloists
Program Books/English Baroque Soloists; John Eliot Gardner, conductor

The Monteverdi Choir & Orchestras presents

English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardner, conductor

Kati Debretzeni, violin
Fanny Paccoud, viola

Sunday, April 10, 2022, 3pm
Zellerbach Hall

Major support provided by The Koret Foundation.

This performance is made possible, in part, by Patron Sponsors Susan Graham Harrison and Michael A. Harrison. 

This performance will last approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, including intermission.

From the Executive and Artistic Director

Jeremy Geffen

This weekend’s programming at Cal Performances offers instructive—and delightful—examples of the eternal changeability and flexibility of music. Over the course of three extraordinary concerts, we’ll sample a selection of music that ranges from the masterpieces of Haydn, Mozart, and Schubert, to cutting-edge compositions by a group of today’s most gifted composers.

We begin on Friday evening with the music of today, as the brilliant yMusic serves up a feast of contemporary works, the oldest of which was written only six years ago. I’m particularly proud that the group’s program features the West Coast premiere of Difference (2019), a Cal Perfor­mances co-commission by American composer Andrew Norman, “one of the most gifted and respected composers of his generation” (New York Times). As ensemble member and award-winning radio host Nadia Sirota promises in her program note, it’s “immediate, unexpected, physical, and a blast to play.” Those of you who saw yMusic’s brilliantly creative concert on last year’s Cal Performances at Home streaming series will have some idea of the musical treasures that lie in store; for everyone else, get ready for a real treat!

Then, two ensembles working in the grand European tradition, present programs featuring some of the most sublime classical music ever written. The esteemed Vienna Piano Trio, making its Cal Performances debut in a rare—and final—West Coast appearance, arrives with a deep dive into Schubert’s chamber music comprised of the composer’s two magisterial piano trios played back-to-back. And on Sunday afternoon, renowned conductor John Eliot Gardiner and his esteemed English Baroque Soloists—the period-instrument ensemble Gardiner founded more than 40 years ago—make an exceedingly rare stateside appearance in a bracing program of Mozart and Haydn.

March and April finds Cal Performances operating at full speed as we approach the April 20 announcement date for our brilliant 2022–23 season. (We just released our beautiful new 42-page season brochure to the printer; I can’t wait to share it with you!) From now through the beginning of May, the remainder of our current season is filled with adventurous programming. You won’t want to miss…

  • Angélique Kidjo, our 2021–22 artist-in-residence, in her new music-theater piece Yemandja (a much-anticipated Cal Performances co-commission and Illuminations event, Apr 23).
  • highly anticipated concerts with superb classical artists including Germany’s Tetzlaff Quartet (Apr 23), another favorite from last season’s Cal Performances at Home; pianist Daniil Trifonov (Apr 28), making his Cal Performances solo debut; and the Danish String Quartet (Apr 29)—a particular favorite of our chamber music audience—delivering the next installment in its ongoing Doppelgänger Project, a series of concerts that pairs late Schubert string quartets with newly commissioned works (on this occasion, a new quartet by the fascinating Finnish composer Lotta Wennäkoski).

Fasten your seatbelts; we have all of this—and more—in store before the season ends!

I know you join us in looking forward to what lies ahead, and to coming together—as we do today and have done so often in the past—to encounter the life-changing experiences that only the live performing arts deliver. We can’t wait to share it all with you!

Jeremy Geffen
Executive and Artistic Director, Cal Performances

Jeremy GeffenThis weekend’s programming at Cal Performances offers instructive—and delightful—examples of the eternal changeability and flexibility of music. Over the course of three extraordinary concerts, we’ll sample a selection of music that ranges from the masterpieces of Haydn, Mozart, and Schubert, to cutting-edge compositions by a group of today’s most gifted composers.

We begin on Friday evening with the music of today, as the brilliant yMusic serves up a feast of contemporary works, the oldest of which was written only six years ago. I’m particularly proud that the group’s program features the West Coast premiere of Difference (2019), a Cal Perfor­mances co-commission by American composer Andrew Norman, “one of the most gifted and respected composers of his generation” (New York Times). As ensemble member and award-winning radio host Nadia Sirota promises in her program note, it’s “immediate, unexpected, physical, and a blast to play.” Those of you who saw yMusic’s brilliantly creative concert on last year’s Cal Performances at Home streaming series will have some idea of the musical treasures that lie in store; for everyone else, get ready for a real treat!

Then, two ensembles working in the grand European tradition, present programs featuring some of the most sublime classical music ever written. The esteemed Vienna Piano Trio, making its Cal Performances debut in a rare—and final—West Coast appearance, arrives with a deep dive into Schubert’s chamber music comprised of the composer’s two magisterial piano trios played back-to-back. And on Sunday afternoon, renowned conductor John Eliot Gardiner and his esteemed English Baroque Soloists—the period-instrument ensemble Gardiner founded more than 40 years ago—make an exceedingly rare stateside appearance in a bracing program of Mozart and Haydn.

March and April finds Cal Performances operating at full speed as we approach the April 20 announcement date for our brilliant 2022–23 season. (We just released our beautiful new 42-page season brochure to the printer; I can’t wait to share it with you!) From now through the beginning of May, the remainder of our current season is filled with adventurous programming. You won’t want to miss…

  • Angélique Kidjo, our 2021–22 artist-in-residence, in her new music-theater piece Yemandja (a much-anticipated Cal Performances co-commission and Illuminations event, Apr 23).
  • highly anticipated concerts with superb classical artists including Germany’s Tetzlaff Quartet (Apr 23), another favorite from last season’s Cal Performances at Home; pianist Daniil Trifonov (Apr 28), making his Cal Performances solo debut; and the Danish String Quartet (Apr 29)—a particular favorite of our chamber music audience—delivering the next installment in its ongoing Doppelgänger Project, a series of concerts that pairs late Schubert string quartets with newly commissioned works (on this occasion, a new quartet by the fascinating Finnish composer Lotta Wennäkoski).

Fasten your seatbelts; we have all of this—and more—in store before the season ends!

I know you join us in looking forward to what lies ahead, and to coming together—as we do today and have done so often in the past—to encounter the life-changing experiences that only the live performing arts deliver. We can’t wait to share it all with you!

Jeremy Geffen
Executive and Artistic Director, Cal Performances

About the Program

Iphigenia

Franz Joseph Haydn
Symphony No. 103 in E-flat major, Drumroll (1795)

Life began anew for Joseph Haydn late in 1790 when the German-English impresario Johann Peter Salomon appeared without warning on the 58-year-old composer’s doorstep in Vienna. “I am Salomon from London and have come to fetch you,” he briskly announced. “Tomorrow we shall conclude an agreement.”

Since his employer Prince Nicholas Ester­házy had recently died, Haydn found himself free at last to pursue creative opportunities in the larger world, and he had long dreamed of traveling to England, where the flourishing musical life exceeded even Vienna’s. Salomon offered him a princely sum to come to London to write and perform symphonies and other works for his ambitious concert series. Though Haydn spoke virtually no English and was at an age when most men were either dead or retired, he accepted.

The first six of Haydn’s “London” Sym­phonies (Nos. 93–98) were composed and premiered during the composer’s first London sojourn of 1791–92. The composer immediately became the toast of London society, his concerts were packed, and Salomon made lots of money. In 1794–95, Haydn returned for another 18 months. Six more symphonies were born (Nos. 99–104): works that marked the pinnacle of the composer’s symphonic creations.

The Drumroll Symphony, No. 103, was premiered in London on March 2, 1795. By this time, Haydn knew exactly how to cast a spell on English audiences, and a major part of this was achieved by keeping them constantly stimulated, never allowing them to guess what was coming next. And he was expert at seizing listeners’ attention from the very beginning.

The first movement begins with the arresting drumroll for which the symphony is named. Murky bassoons and cellos then launch a mysterious Adagio that sets us up for a dark and troubled work; in its final moments, it even suggests it will be in ultra-serious C minor. But then Haydn pulls out the rug, as the Allegro con spirito’s sparkling, mirthful principal theme bounces in and confirms the key is E-flat major. Full of where’s-the-beat rhythmic tricks, it favors the orchestra’s higher, brighter colors. And it also contains a blithe ear worm of a tune, led by oboes.

A generous development section follows, whose highlights include a sped-up version of the mysterious Adagio music and a gorgeous contrapuntal arrangement of the oboe tune. The recapitulation section gradually grows stormy, providing the buildup to a reprise of the drumroll and the Adagio’s gloom before resolving into a high-spirited close.

The London audience so loved the second-movement that they demanded an encore. One of Haydn’s patented double-variations movements, it creates variations on two folk tunes from the region around the Esterházy castle: one in C minor and the other in C major. Haydn covers a marvelous variety of moods in his variations, ranging from the pastoral to the military; he even devises an enchanting solo variation for the concertmaster.

The Minuet manages to combine a heavy-footed peasant quality with courtly grandeur; it also makes delightful use of echo effects. The highlight of this movement, however, is the exquisite trio section. Its beautiful scoring for woodwinds and strings is made more ethereal by the rhythmic vagueness of its flowing phrases.

The first movement summoned our attention with the roll of the timpani. The finale does it with two horn calls, the second superimposed on a merry repeated-note theme. And this is the only theme Haydn needs to build this spectacular movement. As Michael Steinberg wrote, “Even by Haydn’s standards, this finale is a bravura display of making very little go very far.” Beyond typical high energy and wit, this is a final movement that achieves dazzling contrapuntal splendor, matched perhaps only by Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sinfonia concertante for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra in E-flat major, K. 364 (1779)

We know very little about the genesis of Mozart’s sublime Sinfonia concertante, K. 364, the greatest of his string concerto works—neither the occasion for which it was composed nor exactly when it was written, though scholars have generally settled on the summer of 1779. But we know a great deal about the events that preceded it and surely contributed to Mo­zart’s maturation. From September 1777 to January 1779, the young composer traveled from one German princely court to another and finally to Paris in search of a lucrative musical post. While in Mannheim, he fell seriously in love for the first time and almost stopped his trip. In Paris, his mother, who was chaperoning him, fell ill and died. In the end, the job search failed, and Mozart returned empty-handed to Salzburg and his unrewarding drudgery at Archbishop Colloredo’s court. But his head was full of the wonderful music he’d heard in Mannheim and Paris and his heart with new emotions instilled by love and loss. The Sinfonia concertante was the beneficiary of all these experiences.

Works showcasing several solo instruments in an orchestral setting and known as sinfonia concertante were very popular in this period. But Mozart went far beyond the genre to create a true double concerto in which the violin and viola are treated as equally virtuosic partners. Mozart was an accomplished player of both instruments and was aware of the difficulties in balancing the darker, cloudier sound of the viola against the brilliant tone of the violin. Ingeniously, he made the viola play in D major, a key that utilizes the resonance of its open strings, but with its strings tuned one-half step higher so the notes sound in the home key of E-flat. In the orchestra, he divided violas as well as violins into two parts; this brings the ensemble violas into greater prominence and adds marvelous richness to the accompaniment.

This work demonstrates Mozart’s extraordinary sensitivity to instrumental colors. The contrast between the darkness and brightness of the two solo instruments is  beautifully exploited in statement-and-response dialogue. And their emergence in the first movement, like celestial apparitions from the earthy core of the orchestra, constitutes one of the most effective solo entrances ever conceived.

Ravishing melody is the Sinfonia’s other hallmark. In the leisurely sonata-form first movement, there are so many melodic strands that it is pointless to speak of a “principal theme” and a “second theme.” Melody reaches its apotheosis in the C-minor second movement, one of the greatest of all Mozart’s slow movements. Here, in an Italianate aria of heartbreaking beauty, the soloists become two operatic divas, soprano and contralto. Chromatic harmonies and bold dissonance color long-spun vocal lines and reveal a grownup Mozart who has suffered and learned how to transform pain into high art.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Symphony No. 39 in E-flat major, K. 543 (1788)

Mozart’s final three symphonies are among the most astonishing creations in musical history. Not only are they his greatest symphonic works—and each utterly different from its mates—but they were composed in just six weeks’ time during the summer of 1788. To add to their mystique, it was long believed that Mozart wrote them without any commission or external stimulus and that they were, tragically, never performed during his lifetime.

But Mozart scholar Neal Zaslaw has made a strong case that this was not so: he has found much circumstantial evidence these works were indeed performed over the last three years of the composer’s life. “The very idea that Mozart would have written three such works, unprecedented in length and complexity, only to please himself or because he was inspired, flies in the face of his known attitudes to music and life, and the financial straits in which he then found himself,” writes Zaslaw. “While he may often have found great personal pleasure in composing,…he composed to pay his rent and be a useful member of society. … His symphonies were not art for art’s sake, but music for use.”

In the summer of 1788, Mozart was indeed in severe financial straits. His popularity with the fickle Viennese public had waned, the local concert scene was much reduced by a costly war between Austria and Turkey, and his annual income had dropped to an all-time low. As he was composing this symphony (completed June 26, 1788), he began writing a series of pleading letters to his fellow Mason Michael Puchberg begging for huge loans, to which Puchberg (and others) generously responded.

The first movement’s slow introduction immediately seizes our attention with loud fanfares. Its drama is also accentuated by pungent dissonances. Notice the rapid descending scales in the violins, for they will become a prominent feature in the main Allegro section. The Allegro’s gracious principal theme slips in quietly as though we had suddenly opened the drawing room door on a conversation in progress. Throughout this sonata-form movement, supple, lyrical passages play against loud, rhythmically driven ones, which ultimately dominate.

The Andante con moto second movement is an adventurous struggle between Romantic passion and Classical control. A prim, little dotted-rhythm theme in two parts gives Mozart startling developmental possibilities as the movement progresses. More startling still are two wild minor-mode interruptions, which threaten to tear the movement apart with their unbridled passion and extreme dissonance. After each of these outbursts, the orchestra manages—barely—to recover its poise with soothing woodwind writing and sweetly consoling responses from the violins.

Trumpets and timpani return for the very grand Minuet, whose chugging strings exude virile energy. The middle trio section prominently features the two clarinets, the upper taking the melody and the lower providing a burbling accompaniment. The melody here was borrowed from a folk ländler, the Austrian forerunner of the waltz.

The finale is a real barnburner in the humorous style of Haydn. Also à la Haydn, it uses just one hurtling theme to propel its sonata-form course. Particularly delicious is the marvelous fiddle passagework that gives this movement the feeling of a kick-up-your-heels Austrian hoedown. Mozart tips his hat one more time to Papa Haydn with an abrupt, witty close.

—Janet E. Bedell © 2022

Janet E. Bedell is a program annotator and feature writer who writes for Carnegie Hall, the Met­ro­politan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Cara­moor Festival of the Arts, and other musical organizations.

English Baroque Soloists

John Eliot Gardner, conductor
Kati Debretzeni, violin
Fanny Paccoud, viola

Violin I
Kati Debretzeni
Beatrice Philips
Jane Gordon
May Kunstovny
Jenna Sherry
Silvia Schweinberger
Jayne Spencer
Beatrice Scaldini
Sophie SimpsonViolin II
Lucy Jeal
Davina Clarke
Jean Paterson
Debbie Diamond
Håkan Wikström
Henrietta Wayne
Anna Lester
Chloe PrendergastViola
Fanny Paccoud
Monika Grimm
Lisa Cochrane
Mari Giske
Jordan Bowron
Aliye CornishCello
Marco Frezzato
Catherine Rimer
Ruth Alford
Kinga Gáborjáni
Double bass
Valerie Botwright
Cecilia Bruggemeyer
Markus van HornFlute
Rachel Beckett
Christine GarrattOboe
Michael Niesemann
Rachel ChaplinClarinet
Frank van den Brink
James Maltby

Bassoon
Veit Scholz
Catriona McDermid

Horn
Anneke Scott
Gijs Laceulle

Trumpet
Neil Brough
Robert Vanryne

Timpani
Robert Kendell

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