Handel and Haydn Society and Grant Llewellyn Reunite In Spirited Program of Classical Masters on October 9
On November 1 and 3, 2013, the Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) welcomes conductor and former Music Director Grant Llewellyn to Symphony Hall in Llewellyn's first Boston appearance since 2008. A dynamic conductor who built a reputation as a superb interpreter of Baroque and Classical repertoire during his five years leading H&H, Llewellyn will conduct the H&H Period Orchestra in music by Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn.
Llewellyn will conduct the H&H Period Instrument Orchestra in a program exploring compositions written within a 20-year period by three great classical composers; the program features Mozart's Symphony No. 35, Haffner; Beethoven's Symphony No. 2, and Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante for violin, cello, oboe, and bassoon. The latter work features soloists from the H&H ensemble, including concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky, violin; Guy Fishman, principal cello; Stephen Hammer, principal oboe; and Andrew Schwartz, principal bassoon.
Currently the Music Director of the North Carolina Symphony, and in demand with symphony orchestras and opera companies around the world, Llewellyn has a long history in Boston. Prior to his prolific career with H&H between 2001 and 2006, which saw major artistic collaborations, innovative commissions, and two recordings, Llewellyn served as a Conducting Fellow at Tanglewood in the 1980s and was Assistant Conductor of Boston Symphony Orchestra in the 1990s under Seiji Ozawa, leading the orchestra and the Boston Pops.
The performance will be followed by the season's first H2 Young Professionals event, held at Lucca Back Bay. Handel and Haydn's audience is comprised of 30% 18-44 year olds, and the H2 program holds post-concert receptions throughout the year for these young attendees to mingle with musicians and each other.
About the Repertoire
Mozart began composing Symphony No. 35 in D Major, K. 385, in the summer of 1782 as a commission for the Haffners, a prominent and wealthy Salzburg family. Originally composing a Serenade for the occasion of his childhood friend Sigmund Haffner's ennoblement, Mozart later reworked the composition into a symphony. He premiered the symphony in Vienna in March 1785 before an audience that included the Emperor; the work was an immediate success. Popular and frequently performed ever since, Haffner is considered a superb example of Mozart's brilliant late symphonies.
Ten years later, Haydn composed his Sinfonia Concertante for violin, cello, oboe, and bassoon in response to a commission from London impresario and violinist Johann Peter Salomon, which also resulted in the first six of the composer's famed "London symphonies." Unlike his contemporaries, including Mozart, Haydn had little interest in the sinfonia concertante, a popular genre during the Classical period that combined the concerto (featuring multiple soloists) and the symphony (featuring the orchestra), and this is the only sinfonia concertante he ever composed. Although he reportedly created the piece hastily over two weeks, it nevertheless is a mature and exuberant work that reveals Haydn at his most assured. With its thematic development it also exhibits Haydn's mastery of and commitment to the symphonic form. When it debuted in 1792, Salomon himself performed the violin solo. H&H Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky takes up this role alongside her colleagues, who perform solo cello, oboe, and bassoon.
In 1802, Beethoven composed Symphony No. 2 during the same period that he wrote the "Heiligenstadt Testament," a document expressing anguish over his growing deafness and contemplating suicide. Despite the composer's personal despair, the symphony is cheerful and full of humor, and known for its sly and rollicking finale. Hector Berlioz called it a "noteworthy, colossal work" that is "smiling throughout." Along with Beethoven's first symphony, Symphony No. 2 is regarded as an apt example of the composer's earlier, Classical compositions-before he shaped his inimitable, innovative style bridging the Classical and Romantic periods. Beethoven himself conducted the premiere performance of Symphony No. 2, on April 5, 1803.
The Handel and Haydn Society November 1 performance kicks off the 2013-2014 season for H2, H&H's young professionals' group. This popular and growing group will enjoy an after-party following the performance at Lucca Back Bay. For more information, visit www.handelandhaydn.org/concerts/h2.