Between 1769 and 1773, the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his father Leopold made three Italian journeys. Following in their footsteps, the MCO embarks on an Italian adventure with Leif Ove Andsnes. Similar to Mozart’s first tour in 1769, the orchestra will visit Merano, Verona, Torino, Milano and Pordenone. Inspired by the music of his surroundings Mozart’s compositions picked up an Italian flair, foremost in his operatic repertoire but unmistakenly also in his instrumental oeuvre.
The MCO was founded 25 years with a home base in the city of Ferrara. Therefore, returning to Italy always brings along a sense of homecoming and nostalgia. At the same time, it shows how much the orchestra has grown since then musically, artistically and as a structure.
Mozart completed the Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-flat major on December 16, 1785, as he was approaching the height of his popularity in Vienna. Almost simultaneously, he had been working on the score to The Marriage of Figaro. The operatic style made its way into his orchestral compositions, which can be seen in this concerto through the way the piano and orchestra seem to dialogue as if they were characters on stage. Just a few mere months later he would write the final bars of the 24th Concerto. In contrast to the 22nd concerto, this one came to life in a Minor key and has a less operatic feeling to it. Some say that this composition may have served as an outlet for a darker aspect of Mozart’s creativity at the time he was composing the comic opera.
A unique forte of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra is their ability to play pieces without a conductor, through an intricate process of listening to one another and reacting musically, fully giving space for the score to come alive. In the Prague symphony, they will do exactly this.