Thursday, November 3, 2016

Interview October 2016: 10 Questions with K. Woods

Kenneth Woods: Official Links
Kenneth Woods Official Site: Kenneth Woods
Kenneth Woods & ESO Official Site: English Symphony Orchestra (ESO)
Kenneth Woods: Kenneth Woods at ESO
Kenneth Woods: Colorado MahlerFest
Kenneth Woods: Kenneth Woods Twitter (Official)
Kenneth Woods: ESO Twitter (Official)
Kenneth Woods: Kenneth Woods Facebook (Official)
Kenneth Woods: ESO Facebook (Official)
Kenneth Woods: CD Elgar Piano Quintet – Sea Pictures Top 10 Best Seller
Kenneth Woods: CD Hans Gal & Mozart Piano Concertos
Kenneth Woods: Next Concert: Haydn & Mozart (11 December 2016)
Kenneth Woods: Next Concert: Haydn, Mozart & Beethoven (21 December 2016)

1. Your recent CD Elgar: Orchestrated By Donald Fraser, Piano Quintet, Sea Pictures reached the Amazon Best Seller Top 10 last June! In his youth, in 1870s, Elgar himself arranged many works by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven for quintet and wrote his Harmony Music and Shed Pieces, which had a strong, yet personal, Mozartian writing, do you think that the influence of those composers on his music still emerges from his later works? And if yes, how?
Elgar is an interesting figure, because his own compositional voice is so strong and so consistent across his entire maturity. Composers like Shostakovich or Beethoven, or even Mozart, went through huge changes of style in their careers, while the differences between early Elgar and late Elgar are pretty small. The only composer I can think of who has such a consistent and recognizable voice is Brahms. Elgar’s voice was so strong, that even his orchestrations of other composers sound like Elgar.
This means it’s quite hard to spot the influence of other composers in Elgar’s music. His knowledge of Brahms, Beethoven, Wagner, Schumann, Mozart, Haydn and Bach (I’d say those are the composers who shaped his language and technique the most) is so deeply assimilated and integrated into his own musical world that one almost never thinks «Oh, that sounds a bit like…».
What Elgar ultimately learned from the Austro-German masters is a multi-layered approach to motivic development. There are thematic connections in his music that are very obvious, and there are those that are almost undetectable. In a piece like the Piano Quintet, there are obvious moments of cyclical structure, where whole themes return at the end of the piece which we know from the beginning and which are easy for anyone to spot, and then are tiny, microscopic relationships of intervals and ideas that are very important to the musical logic, which one can only really dig out with lots of analysis while looking at the score.
Haydn and Schumann were the greatest masters of this kind of layering, but Mozart excelled at it too.

2. You are a well known promoter of Haydn’s music, also through your own blog A View from the Podium, what are your considerations on your activity on Haydn and on the importance of building a wider knowledge of his music, still, unfortunately, a bit neglected? In September you have conducted the beautiful Symphony no. 80 by Haydn, what have been your thoughts, while preparing your performance? Written in 1784, 2 years before Mozart’s Prague K504 and 1 after Linz, do you think this Symphony by Haydn somehow influenced Mozart’s late symphonic writing?
I think there are two main reasons why Haydn’s music is still mostly misunderstood or underappreciated by the general public. First, I think he’s been very badly served by performers and writers who have tried to tame him as both a human being and a musician. The banal image of the benevolent Papa Haydn is only a tiny portion of a complex and fascinating personality – he was a man of tremendous temperament, great tenacity, capable of great anger and passion, and someone who took great personal and professional risks throughout his career. He must have been a genius at dealing with people – think of what it took to keep that incredible orchestra together at Esterháza with all those great artists and strong personalities. The musical manifestation of this problem is that we keep Haydn’s music behind glass. Too many Haydn performances are too bland – everything is made polite and genteel. I think his music is overflowing with madness and genius. It’s not just gently witty.
Of course, Haydn, even well performed and well curated, asks a lot of listeners. It’s very sophisticated and endlessly modern music.
But I’ve found that if you strip away all the accrued politeness and gentility that has become attached to his music and play it with real commitment and total abandon, audiences hear it and are just stunned.
As far as Haydn’s influence on Mozart, it’s not an easy thing to describe in a few words. They were writing during an era in which the language of music was as standardized and codified as pretty much any time I can think of – the only parallels I can think of are movements in popular music, where certain formulae completely dominate the discourse for a while, like doo-wop, rockabilly or ragtime. Mozart and Haydn were fairly unique in taking a system of stock musical gestures and using them to create incredibly expressive and completely radical music. Both of them understood the power of expectation – how to create it and how to undermine it. Haydn provided the structural framework for Mozart by creating or perfecting the forms in which Mozart would excel: sonata form, the string quartet and the symphony.
But by the time you get to Mozart’s earliest mature symphonies like 25 or 29, you can see he’s a totally different character than Haydn. There’s a melodic brilliance and emotional directness one almost never finds in Haydn, but it lacks Haydn’s wildness and technical genius.
What’s touching is that they clearly understood and loved each other’s music without any hint of jealousy or condescension.

Haydn’s Music- Bathed in Fire and Blood
Haydn in The Oregonian
Haydn the Yurodivy
Reading Haydn from Beginning to End
Haydn- more talented than Mozart
Haydn- smarter than Brahms
Controversy over Haydn and magic with Schumann
RCCO- Schubert and Haydn
Haydn the Subversive
Podcast- The “true” story of Haydn 59
Listen Again- Haydn Trumpet Concerto
Haydn- More fun than Mahler!
More Haydn
Haydn’s on- let’s cancel the concert and rehearse

3. You have published also a really beautiful series of CDs with music by the Austrian-British composer Hans Gál. Among them, Gál’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra and, in the same album, Mozart’s Piano Concerto K482: what led you to create this special combination? You have in your repertoire also a few rare works from 18th/19th century like the Harmoniemusik after Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Figaro by Triebensee and Wendt: do you think this special charming type of works, which had also a specific social value when written, should receive more attention in Concert Seasons, in order to enrich them?
Gál is a special case.
Throughout the decade or so I’ve been working on his music with the Gál Society, one thing I got from them was their deep conviction that his music shouldn’t be assessed too much in terms of his biography.
There has been a lot of long-overdue interest in composers like Gál, whose lives were disrupted (or worse) by the Nazis. It’s important that we let their music be assessed on merit, and not presented with too much special pleading because of their personal tragedies.
With that in mind, we’ve always coupled his works (with a few exceptions, like our disc of string trios by Gál and Krása) alongside works from the Austro-German tradition that he saw himself belonging to. Generationally, he was closer (by far) to Mozart and Schubert than I am to Shostakovich or Mahler.
Hopefully placing his music next to Mozart’s helps us to better understand both composers.
As for the Harmoniemusiks– I think they’re wonderful!
I’m a great fan of arrangements in general. Mozart was, too!
Audiences love these arrangements, and it’s wonderful that one can showcase one’s woodwind section using some of the greatest music ever written.
Orchestras don’t feature their wind sections enough!

4. When you work with the orchestra, preparing a new series of concerts, what are your pieces of advice and tips to the musicians on approaching Mozart and on approaching Haydn?
On a technical level, I don’t think musicians think as deeply about meter and metric structure as they perhaps should in Baroque and Classical repertoire!
Understanding all the nuances of different kinds of impulses and strong and weak beats and bars is absolutely essential for giving this repertoire the right sense of variety and elegance. When you work with a good orchestra over time, you try to develop a shared understanding about how meter works in Mozart and Haydn (and Bach and Handel).
On a more spiritual level, Classical repertoire seems to bring out musicians’ worst tendencies to imitate other people’s performances and mannerisms. The HIP movement has made the problem even more common… it’s become shorthand for a set of performance habits which are mostly the result of a very contemporary aesthetic.
If I’m feeling naughty, I occasionally point out that the aesthetics of Ikea furniture and many period instrument recordings are basically the same. It’s all about clean lines, bright textures, standardized approaches. I would hope the study of performance practice would lead us to be more questioning and more radical, not to simply recycle the interpretations of a conspicuously brilliant generation of other conductors, whose aesthetics were obviously shaped by the British Cathedral choral tradition as much as anything else.
Why do so many performers ignore or downplay Haydn’s use of fortissimo… a dynamic he uses very sparingly? Why do so many performers end every phrase in Mozart with a diminuendo, even when it precedes a subito piano? Surely these kinds of habits are very destructive to the music… it robs it of drama, intensity, contrast and expression.
I felt like I started to blossom as a Haydn interpreter when I freed myself of any worry about whether other people would approve of what I was up to, or whether anyone else had done it before the way I thought it should go.
You’ve got to be honest with yourself about what you find in the score and try to be true to what you learn from it. Once an orchestra feels free to try different things, to make different, more dangerous sounds, everyone’s creativity and energy starts to flow.
Mozart and Haydn come to life when the performers are letting themselves really give their all to the music, instead of trying to imitate the sound of historic instruments, or conform to some emasculated idea of this music being terribly prim and proper.

5. Your favourite work by Mozart and your favourite work by J. Haydn.
Mozart… It has to be the Requiem, which is a work I’ve been immersed in most of my life!
Haydn… It’s harder to pick one piece with him than perhaps any other composer, as there are so many works of such staggering originality and beauty, and whatever Haydn symphony I’ve just played always seems the most miraculous. If I had to pick one work, maybe the Oxford Symphony (no. 92): it’s a work particularly close to my heart and a piece I learned a great deal from studying.

6. Do you have in mind the name of some neglected composer of the 18th century you’d like to see re-evaluated?
Franz Danzi!
I was always fond of his Cello Concerto and it, and his other music, seem due for a re-appraisal.

7. Name a neglected piece of music of the 18th century you’d like to see performed in concert with more frequency. Any Haydn symphony before no. 92 that doesn’t have a nickname!
8. Have you read a particular book on Mozart Era you consider important for the comprehension of the music of this period?
Maynard Solomon’s biography of Mozart is both an impressive piece of scholarship and a touchingly human piece of writing.
I find it very moving.

9. Name a movie or a documentary that can improve the comprehension of the music of this period.
Malcolm Bilson’s documentary Knowing the Score is a great, compact introduction to the world of performance practice.

10. Do you think there’s a special place to be visited that proved crucial to the evolution of the 18th century music?

Haydn’s final Vienna home, here Creation & Seasons were written.
Mozart’s only surviving Vienna home (1784-1787). Here the Piano Concertos K.466, K.467, K.482, K.488, K.491, the Haydn Quartets, Davidde Penitente & Nozze di Figaro were written.
Beethoven’s Eroicahaus
Here Eroica was written.
Beethoven’s Pasqualatihaus
Here 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th & Fidelio were written.
Beethoven’s Wohnung Heiligenstadt
Here 1802 works (ie. Tempest, The Hunt, Eroica Variations, Kreutzer) were written.

Thank you very much for having taken the time to answer our questions!
Thank you!

Copyright © 2016 MozartCircle. All rights reserved.MozartCircle exclusive property. 
Iconography is in public domain or in fair use.

CD Spotlight October 2016: After Napoleon Cherubini & Louis XVIII (1819)

Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)

Beethoven adored Cherubini and considered him one of his
Models in Music. After Napoleon Cherubini became the official co-Director of Bourbons' King's Chapel (1815). In 1819 he wrote a Coronation Mass, a great masterpiece, that, due to the political turmoils, was never
performed. Only in 1867 the score resurfaced and in 20th century a complete new edition was available. Agnus Dei is an unforgetable masterpiece.
EMI Records 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Interview September 2016: 10 Questions with K. Stratton

Kerry Stratton: Official Links
Kerry Stratton & TCO Official Site: Toronto Concert Orchestra
Kerry Stratton: Wish Opera (Official Site)
Kerry Stratton (Radio Host): Classical Radio 96.3 Live
Kerry Stratton (Radio Host): Classical Radio 96.3 Host
Kerry Stratton: Kerry Stratton Twitter (Official)
Kerry Stratton: Kerry Stratton & TCO Facebook (Official)
Kerry Stratton: CD Liszt World Premiere De Profundis & Music After Schubert, Beethoven
Kerry Stratton: CD Mozart Clarinet Concerto & Weber Clarinet Concertino

1. For your recent series of concerts with the Toronto Concert Orchestra, you presented Haydn classics par excellence, featuring Haydn’s Concerto for Trumpet and the Symphony No. 88! What are the true elements of beauty and fascination in the music by Joseph Haydn, in your opinion?
Both Haydn and Dvorak have suffered scorn over the years simply for having the audacity to practice the art of music from a position of charming, robust mental health.
This to some, is an unforgivable failing but is the very thing that appeals to me in both composers.
Certainly, their respective publics needed no explanations of these composers’ appeal.
The beauty and fascination in Haydn is that he produced so much music of good quality and had so much to offer, yet stayed within the forms of his day while nevertheless contributing to them.
The fascination for me is the extent to which Haydn was a complete child of nature, who seemed to have written down whatever came into his head. Even in his sixties, he was writing to his publisher to request a book on counterpoint, feeling «It is time I studied».
The beauty and fascination… perfection of form and the flow of melody.

2. Genius & No Rules has been largely exaggerated! In reality both Haydn and Mozart, as you said, spent most of their lives studying and experimenting musical theories and even new ones. Also the famous dirty jokes of Mozart were not, in reality, in most cases, his own stuff, but he was just quoting then widely well known lines from Hanswurst’s popular theatre comedies, a sort of Austrian Mel Brooks of 18th century. The same consideration for Beethoven, who, moreover, had even always boasted his personal condition of intellectual superiority! And Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony is still an important piece in your life as a conductor. What are your most profound considerations on this absolute masterpiece by Beethoven?
It was my good fortune to grow up on a farm, here in Ontario, that had been established in the 1850’s.
The buildings are gone now but they would have been the sort of edifice which nowadays would be preserved as a heritage site.
In any case, I was oblivious to that aspect and far more concerned with trying to amuse myself, cut off as one is in the country.
There is not a movement in Beethoven’s Symphony that fails to conjure images of my childhood: the arrival, by the brook (we had a great huge pond on the farm and a stream)… The merry making: (my mother came from a family of eleven children) and when all the families got together it helped Beethoven’s version of the peasants festival, make complete sense to me.
There are few things with the amniotic security of being in a century old stone farmhouse during a summer storm.
The Hymn of Thanksgiving means more to me at this stage in life as I look back on a childhood filtered through the gauze of memory. Beethoven knew what the country was all about and I recognized our commonality.
These considerations are not profound but I offer them to you from the point of view that no conductor without the experience of these things will ever give a convincing pastoral performance.

3. It is well known how Liszt, as child prodigy, was publicly presented by 19th century papers as the actual physical reincarnation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and how, last son of the Esterházy group, he cultivated an unconditioned devotion to Beethoven. In your famous Liszt CD with the World Premiere Recording of Liszt’s De Profundis, you conducted also two other masterpieces by him, the Wanderer Fantasia after Schubert and the Fantasy on Beethoven’s Ruins of Athens after Beethoven, which belonged to Liszt’s programme of public promotion of the music of the so called First Viennese School. Musically speaking, how do you think the spirit of the First Viennese School from Haydn to Beethoven-Schubert really emerges from the very music written by F. Liszt for piano and orchestra?
The inclusion of the Ruins of Athens and the Wanderer Fantasia were at my behest, the Schubert in particular because they represented an era and style that no longer appears in concert programmes.
What I have always sought in a piano soloist is not merely someone who knows how to play the score but who has researched how it was played.
The late Thomas Manshardt, last pupil of Cortot, was a dear friend and a convincing link to the great 19th century pianistic traditions.
Seldom did I encounter an artist who in Liszt, could use what he called the force of the anacrusis. Tom’s phrasing I cannot adequately describe but can only attest to power and the hold-your-breath kind of music making that he showed me.
Too often I feel that we are teaching students with what amounts to a powerful accent on the first beat of every bar which is a difficult habit to break or at least control.
This may be fine in some cases but Liszt appropriates Beethoven and Schubert for his own purposes and his own style, which was anything but rigid.

4. Beside your intense activity as a conductor, you have been carrying on various important projects both as Classical Radios Host with shows like Conductor’s Choice and The Oasis and as an avid promoter of the activity of young performers and conductors, especially during summer festivals. What have been the great challenges and the great accomplishments, you experienced with these special activities? We know also you are a renowned gourmet and now we are publishing many original 18th century recipes in the section of our Site The Mozartian Gourmet! What do you think of it?
I have enjoyed my work as a radio presenter in that the most important thing to convey to the listener is my love of the music. It may set the cat amongst the pigeons, but I am not out to educate.
Monet had a wonderful quote about his work: «Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love».
We hear too often that people want to appreciate or respect music when it wasn’t written to be appreciated and respected. Those are merely by-products.
It is my view that Mozart to name but one, attests in his correspondence that he wanted people to love his music.
To come to this art form the listener needs but two things and they are time and desire. The rest will follow.
The challenges of the festival fall into the same category as all arts organizations can easily identify and that is securing funding, programming, promotion and consolidating for the future.
What it reduces to is that established arts groups are in one particular business above all others and that is the business of relationships. There are relationships amongst musicians, the conductor, the board, the sponsor and above all, the public. These partnerships are crucial to survival.
As for The Mozartian Gourmet, I would take the greatest interest in any recipe involving game! Now that’s my idea of a splendid meal of a winter’s evening.

5. Your Classical Music Radio Shows regularly broadcast Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Danzi, Viotti, Kuhlau and many other masters of 18th century and 19th century… is there a better form of education to beauty and good taste? And what about your favourite work by Mozart and your favourite work by J. Haydn?
Must we have favourites?
Paradise would be rehearsing and performing Mozart operas and Haydn symphonies for all eternity.
If, however, you need an answer, I am afraid I shall disappoint, as it is tantamount to asking which of my children is my favourite!

6. Do you have in mind the name of some neglected composer of the 18th century you’d like to see re-evaluated?
The Arriaga Symphony makes wish he had written thirty more but in a life so brief, we have what we have.
There have been some first rate recordings of F. X. Richter symphonies as well as Boccherini and Vorisek, which are a delight to me!
In general, I think the Bohemian symphonists are neglected.

7. You have already answered previously on the neglected pieces of music of the 18th century! So I’m asking you what is your vision on our approaching this so rich repertoire from 18th century?
To me it is more important to continue on the voyage of exploration and discovery than to focus on just one work!

8. Do you have in mind a particular book on Mozart Era you consider important for the comprehension of the music of this period?
To comprehend Mozart, but slightly, read his letters!
To comprehend the music, I think it is far more important to do score analysis.
This will teach much about the music and there is no substitute for this kind of work!
There are books aplenty and I have enjoyed many with the caution that when we encounter any writer who declares «I have the truth!» we must go in the opposite direction.

9. Name a movie or a documentary that can improve the comprehension of the music of this period.
I don’t believe such a film has been made but, as an enthusiastic amateur historian, I am always intrigued by military history of the time.
The movement of troops, ordinance and cavalry about a battlefield had the form, traditions and structure of any courtly dance.
Barry Lyndon is not a musical film but I am astounded by Thackeray’s portrayal of 18th century society in the original novel.
The film does well.
To know a people and aspects of their time, is no disadvantage in knowing their music.

10. Certainly both Kurosawa and Kubrick knew how to treat Classical Music in their movies! It is a fact that many people got acquainted with even rare masterpieces by Haydn, Schubert, Vivaldi and Ligeti through their movies. And the Soundtrack from Barry Lyndon did the same for Paisiello, one of the great musical models of Mozart and who spent also many evenings playing quartets with Mozart himself, and Handel!  Do you think there’s a special place to be visited that proved crucial to the evolution of the 18th century music?
In a word, Vienna!

Thank you very much for having taken the time to answer our questions!
Thank you!

Copyright © 2016 MozartCircle. All rights reserved.MozartCircle exclusive property. 
Iconography is in public domain or in fair use.

CD Spotlight September 2016: Paisiello Official Composer of Napoleon I (2 December 1804)

Giovanni Paisiello (1750-1816)
200th Paisiello Anniversary  (1816-2016) In 18th/19th century Paisiello was considered the “King of Composers & the Composer of Kings”. Mozart and Paisiello were on friendly terms and used to play quartets together during the Viennese soirées in 1780s. Then Paisiello became the Official Composer of Napoleon I
Koch Schwann Records

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Interview August 2016: 10 Questions with The Revolutionary Drawing Room Quartet

The Revolutionary Drawing Room Quartet: Official Links
RDRQuartet Official Site: The Revolutionary Drawing Room
New CD Album 2016 Release (Uppernote): Revolutionary Flute Quartets
Butterfield Official Site: Adrian Butterfield
Butterfield (Royal College of Music): Adrian Butterfield (RCM)
RDRQuartet: RDRQuartet Twitter
RDRQuartet: RDRQuartet YouTube
RDRQuartet: CD A Viennese Quartet Party
RDRQuartet: CD Mozart Clarinet Quintet with C.Lawson

1. Haydn, Mozart, Dittersdorf and Vanhal: four composers with four well defined characters! How did you come up with the idea of re-uniting them together again in the same Album? How do their different characters emerge from their very music? And also how and when did you decide to choose the name The Revolutionary Drawing Room for your group, a name which truly represents the spirit of 18th century? 
R. Alford (cello): The name of the group was thought of by the founding cellist of the ensemble, Angela East.
A. Butterfield (violin): It is a rather distinctive name which arouses a lot of attention! The Drawing Room part derives from the withdrawing room found in the houses of the patrons of musicians in the Georgian era in England in the 18th century, a room to which families and their guests retired after dinner. Revolutionary refers to the years spanning approximately 1789-1848 during which there were many upheavals in Europe.
The idea of our Viennese Quartet Party programme was suggested to me by an audience member who came up to me many years ago after a concert and asked if we knew about the story of these four composers playing together in Vienna in 1784.
R. Stott (viola): I have loved reading the Reminiscences of Michael Kelly, the Irish tenor who sang in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, in which he relates the Quartet Party story. He was quite a character!
A. Butterfield (violin): It's true, these four composers were possessed of very differing temperaments.
Haydn is well known for his joy and sense of humour and that is reflected in the false ending of his quartet Op.50 No.1 which was designed to tease his audience. He was, though, also possessed of such wonderful originality in his use of musical ideas and form.
Mozart overflowed with beautiful melodies but Haydn's Op.33 quartets inspired him to write music of great imagination and complexity and the opening of the Dissonance quartet is a particularly extraordinary example of this.
Dittersdorf wrote some interesting programmatic music and his A major quartet seems to us to have moments of story-telling too, especially the Minuet movement which feels very much like party music!
Vanhal, a pupil of Dittersdorf, comes across as a more serious character. The slow movement of his E flat major quartet is especially beautiful and close in style to Haydn.

2. You, as single performing musicians (I mean you four members of the RDR Quartet), recorded also a wonderful Series of CDs devoted to many other authors of the first and second half of the 18th century from Jean-Marie Leclair to Handel to C.P.E.Bach to Luigi Boccherini. According to your opinion, who, among those composers, really exerted a strong musical influence on the composers of the First Viennese Group, Haydn, Mozart, Dittersdorf, Vanhal etc. and then Beethoven and so on?
A. Butterfield (violin): Our individual experience of performing a vast range of baroque repertoire has had a great influence on our performance of Haydn and Mozart.
J.S. Bach's two most famous sons, Carl Philipp Emmanuel and Johann Christian, were especially influential!
K. Parry (violin): For example, J.C. Bach looked after Mozart when he came to London as a boy and his tuneful, rococo style can often be heard in Mozart's music.
Handel and J.S. Bach became stronger influences later thanks to the encouragement of one of their patrons, Gottfried van Swieten.

3. In October 2016, you are going to launch your The Beethoven Cycle, a series of peformances featuring all the Beethoven Quartets, and this also by underlining the strong philological association, which exists among the last Quartets by Haydn and the first ones by Beethoven: how do you feel, in their music, the Revolutionary character from an old Innovator (Haydn) and to a new Innovator (Beethoven)? And many anecdotes exist on this peculiar situation directly from those times!
A. Butterfield (violin): The relationship between Haydn and Beethoven is a fascinating one.
Beethoven asked Haydn for some lessons but these took place at a time when Haydn was preparing for his second visit to England in 1794 and it seems that Beethoven became frustrated that he didn't have his teacher's undivided attention.
The fact that Beethoven's first set of quartets were being written at the same time as Haydn's final set and that they were commissioned by the same person, Prince Lobkovitz, is intriguing, especially since Haydn only managed to write 2-and-a-half of his set of six. He wrote in the manuscript of the third quartet, «Old and weak am I; all my strength is gone.» and yet he went on to write The Creation and The Seasons after this so the pressure from his pupil clearly got to him.
R. Alford (cello): The revolutionary character of Beethoven's music is unmistakeable, especially his use of sforzando accents and other surprise dynamics as well as shocking harmonic shifts.
It is easy to forget, though, how innovative Haydn and Mozart were and that so many of the devices that Beethoven used had already been pioneered by his predecessors.
The Overture to Mozart's Don Giovanni, for example, contains dramatic crescendos that lead to sudden pianos, a device that Beethoven was to develop on a grand scale and Beethoven's scherzos were a clear development of the myriad examples written by Haydn.
As a young man in the 1790s Beethoven probably saw Haydn as old-fashioned but he wrote his Op.74 quartet just after Haydn's death in 1809 almost as a tribute to his former teacher and perhaps he had come to realise that he had learned rather a lot from him.
K. Parry (violin): Our Beethoven quartet cycle starts in October 2016 at St. John's Smith Square in London and we will perform his complete quartets there over a period of three years.
It is still quite rare to hear Beethoven quartets on period instruments and this is a very exciting project for us.
There is plenty of standard 19th century repertoire by composers such as Mendelssohn and Schubert that we want to explore, but we like to mix that with much more rarely performed works by composers like Boccherini, Spohr, Viotti, Donizetti and even Coleridge-Taylor.
A. Butterfield (violin): We work regularly with wind players and piano and our new recording of the flute quartets of Mozart as well as those of his contemporaries in Mannheim and Paris, with Rachel Brown, is due for release in August 2016 on Rachel's Uppernote label.
K. Parry (violin): However a composer we always come back to is Haydn. Maybe one day we will work our way through all of his wonderful quartets!

4. You, both as a quartet and as single performers, are also an important example of musicians and entrepreneurs, creating and founding your own Ensembles and Musical Seasons, what's your very first advice to those young musicians who want to follow this particular type of path? What can you say from your experience?
A. Butterfield (violin): Being an entrepreneurial classical musician certainly doesn't become any easier!
But if you love the music you want to perform enough and are prepared to work incredibly hard you can still do well. One needs to be innovative and imaginative in terms of the way one presents programmes.
Our Viennese Quartet Party idea is a good example of that!
So many audience members have told me how much they appreciate being given some explanation of the context of the music I am performing for them and this is particularly true of music from long ago.
R. Alford (cello): With so much studio-recorded music available these days it is vital that concerts offer more than just perfection of ensemble and intonation, important though those are. Live performance should be dangerous and spontaneous so that audiences go away having been so thrilled and moved that they will be inspired to go to more concerts in the future.

5. Your favourite work by Mozart and your favourite work by J. Haydn.
A. Butterfield (violin): Favourite compositions are such an impossible question! I tend to have favourites that are the pieces I am working on at that moment!
R. Stott (viola): Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro will always be a highly treasured piece and it happens to be very relevant to our Quartet Party programme.
A. Butterfield (violin): The slow movement of Haydn's last completed quartet, the F major Op.77 No.2, is always one we love to come back to. It has an almost prayerful, elegiac quality to it that never fails to move us.

6. Do you have in mind the name of some neglected composer of the 18th century you'd like to see re-evaluated?
R. Stott (viola): Alessandro Rolla (1757-1841) is an interesting musician who is little known. We have played one of his quartets and we think his music deserves more exposure.
A. Butterfield (violin): I have championed Jean-Marie Leclair's music for some years now. He was a French baroque violinist/composer (1697-1764), who wrote a large amount of wonderful violin and chamber music as well as an opera

7. Name a neglected piece of music of the 18th century you'd like to see performed in concert with more frequency.
R. Stott (viola): Telemann's Die Donnerode (TWV 6:3a/6:3b).

8. Have you read a particular book on Mozart Era you consider important for the comprehension of the music of this period?
K. Parry (violin): Charles Rosen's The Classical Style is a very important book and Paul Griffiths' The String Quartet, A History contains much useful information. And I know you want to add another book.
A. Butterfield (violin): I met and was coached by Hans Keller many years ago. He was a controversial figure who made people think by challenging received ideas. I refer regularly to his book The Great Haydn Quartets.

9. Name a movie or a documentary that can improve the comprehension of the music of this period.
K. Parry (violin): In search of Haydn (Seventh Art Productions), The Genius of Mozart and The Genius of Beethoven (top documentary films), excellent introductions to the lives and times of three extraordinary composers.
And for fun: Amadeus - the remarkable film of Peter Shaffer's play.

10. Do you think there's a special place to be visited that proved crucial to the evolution of the 18th century music?
K. Parry (violin): Surely Vienna? Mozart and Haydn even played quartets together here! And what about Mannheim?
A. Butterfield (violin):Vienna is obviously a good choice, but I wonder whether Mannheim would be a bit different and an opportunity to remind the reader about our new recording that is just coming out of Flute Quartets by Mozart and some of his colleagues in that city.
K. Parry (violin): Oh, yes! Certainly!
A. Butterfield (violin):The Mannheim orchestra was famous for its meticulous discipline and for numerous novel and strikingly dramatic effects such as the Mannheim crescendo (a passage that started very softly and built up very gradually to a great fortissimo), the Mannheim rocket (a rapid rising arpeggio figure across a wide range with crescendo) and the Mannheim sigh (an affettuoso use of slurs as aspirating figures with diminuendo). Mozart spent a number of months in Mannheim getting to know the talented musicians there especially the flautist, Wendling, who brought about the commissions for Mozart's flute quartets and concertos. Mozart desperately wanted a job at the court there yet sadly it wasn't to be, but his later music was greatly influenced by the musicians that he got to know in that orchestra. Our recording of Mozart's flute quartets, with the flautist Rachel Brown, which she has to intermingle with works by his contemporaries in both Mannheim and Paris (such as Wendling, Gluck, Viotti and Danzi) is due for release on Rachel's own Uppernote label in the next few weeks.

So, dear MozartEra fans, with this new CD Album Revolutionary Flute Quartets - Mozart, Mannheim & Paris, this summer another musical gem will be added to the exquisite and magnificent recordings by The Revolutionary Drawing Room Quartet! Dear Adrian, dear Kathryn, dear Rachel and dear Ruth, thank you very much for having taken the time to answer our questions!

Thank you!

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CD Spotlight August 2016: Gossec & Dittersdorf and La Prise de la Bastille (1789)

The Symphony La Prise de la
Bastille is attributed here to Ditters von Dittersdorf. In reality
the authorship of this Symphony is dubious and more probably
the real composer of this work was the Belgian composer
Othon-Joseph Vandenbroeck!
Capriccio Records