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Interview January 2018: 10 Questions with I. Page

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Ian Page: Official Sites
Ian Page Site: Ian Page & Classical Opera / The Mozartists
Ian Page: Ian Page (Twitter)
Ian Page: CO & The Mozartists (Twitter)
Ian Page: CO & The Mozartists (Facebook)
Ian Page: CO & The Mozartists (YouTube)
Ian Page: CO & The Mozartists (Season 2017/2018)

Ian Page: CD Albums
Ian Page: Mozart: Il Sogno di Scipione
Ian Page: Mozart: Haydn, Beethoven: Perfido!
Ian Page: Mozart: Zaide


1. In 2017/2018 you are celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Classical Opera, that, with its period-instrument orchestra under your direction as conductor, has gained the status of one of the major international leading exponents not only of the music of Mozart but also of his many contemporaries (i.e. Gluck, J.C.Bach, T.Arne, N.Jommelli and many others), thanks to a series of highly critically acclaimed live concerts and CD recordings. In 1997 you have founded Classical Opera, then in 2017 you have launched The Mozartists… Can you tell us about the story behind the birth and the many years of activity of Classical Opera? When did you encounter the music of Mozart for the first time and when did you decide to found Classical Opera and why? What have been the major challenges and the major accomplishments, you experienced during these 20 years? And what about The Mozartists?

It’s been a wonderful journey, although in many ways I’m always too close to it to be able to see the growth and evolution from a proper perspective.

In my late teens the music of Mozart occupied an increasingly important place in my heart – the piano concertos were my initial way in – and when I was at University at York (my degree was actually in English Literature), Roger Norrington came to conduct Beethoven’s Eroica symphony with the chamber orchestra there. It was completely revelatory for me, and I soon started supplementing by listening habits with period-instrument recordings of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven.

I was bowled over by how fresh, vibrant and surprising this core repertoire sounded with these instruments…

…The music suddenly seemed to make so much more sense; it was like scraping the veneer off an old painting by a great master and discovering that the original colours were so much brighter and more compelling.

By this stage I was in London studying as a postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Music, and there I met David Syrus, who was for many years Head of Music at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (he only retired from the position last year). Like many other students before and since, I was fired by David’s musicianship, wisdom and supreme decency and generosity as a human being, and opera seemed to represent the ideal fusion of my twin loves of music and literature.

One thing led to another, and I naturally gravitated more and more towards Mozart’s operas…

…After the RAM I joined the music staff at Scottish Opera, where I worked with the Handel specialist Nick McGegan on a new production of La clemenza di Tito, and this again proved a revelatory experience. I was astonished by how wide the gulf generally was between a good and a bad performance of works like Tito or Idomeneo, and the following year Nick asked me to assist him at the uniquely beautiful and evocative rococo theatre in Drottningholm, Sweden. I was also now working at Glyndebourne, and specialising increasingly in Mozart. This was still limited to the big four or five operas, but I was becoming more and more interested in where Mozart’s operatic style and personality grew from. This was the seed for starting Classical Opera; I was struck by the dichotomy between Mozart being arguably the most highly regarded composer in the history of opera and yet only about a quarter of his operas holding a place in the repertoire of the world’s opera houses. There was no sudden light-bulb moment, but it gradually became important to me to try to set up a company that could do for Mozart what the Royal Shakespeare Company does for Shakespeare.

Over the years our brief, and my interests and ambitions for the company, have evolved, influenced partly by my growing fascination with placing Mozart’s music in context and partly by the feeling that there should be no limit to the repertoire we explore, having invested so much in assembling a wonderful team of musicians and establishing a shared philosophy and approach to performing the music of the 18th century. The name Classical Opera has increasingly felt limiting to this evolution, and earlier this year we launched The Mozartists as a vehicle for our expanding concert work.

Over our first 20 years our repertoire has already ranged from cantatas by Handel and Pergolesi to symphonies by Beethoven and Schubert, but Mozart – and his operas in particular – has always been our starting point. This new name allows us greater freedom and flexibility in our programming, while hopefully also causing less confusion among promoters and audiences. The important step for me was the recognition that we’re not exclusively an opera company, and so long as Mozart remains central to our repertoire and mission, there’s no reason why we can’t also explore Handel and Beethoven and even beyond.

20th Birthday Concert – 9 October 2017

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Classical Opera Company rehearsing Artaxerxes

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Classical Opera - Adriano in Siria

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2. In October 2017 you have released the CD recording Il Sogno di Scipione by Mozart, an opera composed in Salzburg in 1771, when Mozart was only 15 years old. You have studied and conducted Mozart’s early works, especially operas, for a long time: what’s your general impression on this incredible work by a young genius of 15 years old? Which parts of Il Sogno di Scipione impressed you most? In June 2018 you are going to conduct Mozart’s first full-length opera La finta semplice (1768), marking so another 250th anniversary. La finta semplice was written in 1768, in difficult conditions, and Il Sogno di Scipione in 1771, after Mozart’s formative experience in Italy: what’s the technical difference between the two works, in your opinion? Il Sogno di Scipione is part of your project The Complete Mozart Operas, which started in 2012: at which point of your Mozartian operatic parcours are you now and what for the future?

The parallel with Shakespeare is a significant one.

Both Mozart and Shakespeare wrote some works that are less good than others, but even in the least good ones they will suddenly do something – tap a depth of beauty, wisdom or truth – that no one else could have thought of.

Il sogno di Scipione is an interesting case in point. It’s not one of his most challenging or accomplished works – indeed it’s the first release in our ongoing complete Mozart Opera cycle that we recorded without having previously performed the work in the theatre or the concert hall – but it still has touches, details, sleights of hand, that none of his contemporaries could have thought of…

… There’s an accompanied recitative near the end in which Scipio awakens from his dream. As he stirs the sound-world suddenly changes and the strings play two bars that instantly transport the listener to a magical, elevated place.

Il sogno di Scipione

The more familiar I become with Mozart’s early operas the more aware I become that what he was extraordinary at is matching the scale and ambition of each work to the level and expectation of the commission. Works commissioned to celebrate royal weddings were virtuosic but emotionally shallow, and works written for young or amateur performers were charming but technically undemanding, while he was able to throw the kitchen sink at major commissions such as Mitridate and Lucio Silla, in the knowledge that he was writing for some of the top singers and players of the day.

Il sogno di Scipione was commissioned as a dutiful and obsequious act of homage to the Archbishop of Salzburg, so it had a specific function whose message would only be muddied by a complex plot. In truth, the piece has virtually no plot whatsoever, and this had been one of my reasons for not having performed it before. During rehearsals for the recording, though, the moment we accepted the lack of plot and started to explore the way the score underpins and enhances the philosophical nature of the libretto, we found that the music suddenly lifted off the page, and it was wonderful to see how much our singers and players started to appreciate and enjoy the piece.
La finta semplice was composed for Vienna’s leading opera buffa singers, although in the end it was never performed there, and Goldoni’s libretto is genuinely comic, so the twelve-year-old Mozart gave it his best shot. In keeping with the styles of the day, the arias are substantially shorter than opera seria ones, but the music is astonishingly skilful and successful, and the chain-finales already anticipate the celebrated Da Ponte operas

La Finta Semplice Trailer – 6 & 8 June 2018

… At the conclusion there is even a poignant pre-echo of Le nozze di Figaro, as Giacinta begs forgiveness from her brothers for her impish trickery. With Rosina’s Senti l’eco and Amoretti, too, time suddenly seems to stand still and the comedy is briefly suspended in a vision of genuine sincerity, compassion and vulnerability.

The next release (the seventh) in our ongoing complete Mozart cycle will be of Bastien und Bastienne, which we are coupling with the early dramatic cantata Grabmusik. These two works, both completed before Mozart even reached his teens, will be released in autumn 2018, and again reflect Mozart’s skill at matching his music to the scale of the commission. Bastien und Bastienne was the only one of Mozart’s operas to be conceived for performance in a private house rather than a theatre or opera house, but its bucolic charm and simplicity are beguiling.

Grabmusik, meanwhile, was allegedly the result of a test set by the distrusting Archbishop of Salzburg, who had the young composer confined to solitary confinement while he set the text, to prove that he was not receiving help from his father or any other elders. The result is one of Mozart’s least known works, but it contains music of incredible emotional range, that must have quashed any doubters for good!

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Ian Page’s
THE COMPLETE MOZART’S OPERAS – CD Series (2011-2017)
& Other Albums
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Mozart: Il sogno di Scipione
Perfido! Vocal Works by Haydn, Mozart & Beethoven
Mozart: Zaide

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Handel: Where’re You Walk
Mozart: Il Re Pastore
Mozart: Mitridate, re di Ponto

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Mozart: Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots
Mozart: Apollo et Hyacinthus
Gluck: Blessed Spirit

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Arne: Artaxerxes
A-Z Mozart Opera

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3. In 2015 with your Classical Opera you have launched another special type of concerts, synchronically featuring works by Mozart and by his major contemporaries during the same musical season: MOZART 250, which, through its concerts and its retrospective Series, chronologically follows an ideal 250th anniversary line in the annual footsteps of Mozart’s life from 1765/2015 (Mozart’s childhood visit to London) to 1791/2041. What led you to create such special annual series of musical events? Beside Mozart’s La finta semplice, in 2018 you’ll present Haydn’s Applausus, his Symphony No. 26 Lamentatione and other works by him and music by J.C.Bach, Jommelli, Hasse and Vanhal: what about your interest in the music by this group of composers and, in particular, in the music by Haydn?

Again, I can’t remember the exact moment I had the idea, but it seems to incorporate several of the things that are important to me. I’ve always been fascinated by what music Mozart heard and was influenced by, and which of his fellow composers he admired (he was famously dismissive of most of them!).

I also found myself being increasingly frustrated by reviewers and commentators judging Mozart’s early works in comparison with the masterpieces he was writing twenty years later rather than with the other music being written and performed at the same time.

Even when I first set up Classical Opera it seemed obvious that if we learnt to perform works like La finta semplice and Mitridate well then that would beneficially inform our performances of the great masterpieces of his maturity, and with MOZART 250 it’s proved really useful to be able to place Mozart’s works alongside works being written in the same year by other composers. Even those pieces which Mozart would almost certainly not have heard throw light on the gradual evolution of musical style during his lifetime, and of course the works that he did know are of even greater interest.

We’ve already featured over thirty composers in the first three years of MOZART 250, and our 2015 mini-festival exploring the music being performed in London during Mozart’s childhood stay there featured several composers that not even I had heard of before – people like Mattia Vento, Davide Perez, George Rush and William Bates.

We’ll be releasing a 2-CD set of highlights from these concerts in May 2018.

If everything goes according to plan MOZART 250 will generally form approximately half of our live projects each year between now and 2041.

Every January we present a retrospective concert offering an overview of the musical year 250 years previously. Our 1768 survey, which takes place at Wigmore Hall on 23 January, will include symphonies by Haydn and Vanhal, a flute concerto by Johann Christian Bach, played by our principal flautist Katy Bircher, and arias from Jommelli’s Fetonte, Hasse’s Piramo e Tisbe, Haydn’s Lo speziale and Mozart’s La finta semplice, all sung by the young Swiss-Belgian soprano Chiara Skerath, making her UK début. Devising these programmes is very labour-intensive but I really enjoy the process, and it always throws up some fascinating discoveries.

Of course there are some years when Mozart was extremely prolific and others when he wrote very little, but even the least productive years provide opportunities to dig a little deeper into other more obscure repertoire…

…  1766 (2016), for example, was a relatively thin year on paper, but it enabled us to present the UK première of Jommelli’s Il Vologeso, which proved to be a great success. As we enter the fourth year of MOZART 250 a consistent pattern is starting to take shape, with Haydn unsurprisingly emerging as the leading light alongside the young Mozart.

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And about Haydn,…

… just consider that, beside Applausus and his symphony No. 26 for this season, I’m on a mission to champion all the symphonies without a nickname, because they tend to be overlooked in favour of those with nicknames, and among those nos. 47, 80 and 99 are particular favourites.

Haydn 2009 Celebrations

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Ian Page’s MOZART 250 – The Journey of a Lifetime
Complete Concerts Series (2015-2018)
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Mozart 250: Year 1768-2018
Mozart 250: Year 1767-2017
Mozart 250: Year 1766-2016
Mozart 250: Year 1765-2015

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4. You have worked at Glyndebourne and Drottningholm, experiencing, in this way, peculiar conditions of opera performance, a few of them, certainly typical of the 18th century (the Drottningholm Theatre, for example): how such experiences enriched your vision of the 18th century music? You have worked also with Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Alexander Gibson, Ivor Bolton, Nicholas McGegan, Mark Wigglesworth: how did they contribute to your growth as a musician, as a conductor and as an artist? You work with many marvellous, also young, artists and professionals year after year: do you want to remember someone in particular and some anecdotes? And as an entrepreneur, what have been your major challenges and what your advice and tips for those who’d like to launch their careers in the world of classical music as entrepreneurs?

When I assisted Nic McGegan at Drottningholm we were working on a production of Una cosa rara by Martin y Soler, and it was fascinating to work on such a typical 18th-century opera there.

After a few weeks in a rehearsal studio in Stockholm it seemed like a distinctly average piece with a fairly ordinary cast, but as soon as rehearsals moved into the Drottningholm theatre the piece, and the singers, suddenly sounded a million dollars!

That was a really formative experience for me; it made me realise that there are so many 18th-century works that need the right tender, loving care to flourish, and that they really start to make sense when you can recreate the conditions for which they were originally conceived.

Glyndebourne was also a wonderful place to work, and it was there that I first met and worked with Sir Charles Mackerras. I worked on all three of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas there, and as assistant conductor I had musical responsibility for luxuriously extensive understudy rehearsals, which provided me with the opportunity to work with some of the leading young singers in the country. I subsequently assisted Mackerras on his recording of Idomeneo, and he followed the development of Classical Opera with a keen interest, always generous with his advice and encouragement. Along with Stanley Sadie and Christopher Raeburn – two other great people, great minds and great Mozartians – he was the most influential mentor for me in the early years of the company.

I worked with the other three conductors you mention on rather different repertoire – Puccini, Britten and Stravinsky – but I learnt a huge amount from all of them. Sir Alex was particularly warm and inspirational, and I continue to hold Mark Wigglesworth up as a role model for his fierce musical intelligence and the depth of his thinking and preparation.

Then there are the conductors and other musicians from whom I’ve learnt so much from watching them perform or listening to their recordings. We should always retain an overriding sense of modesty and humility, but at the same time it’s really important in refining our own thoughts and interpretations to analyse what we particularly like or dislike about other performers and performances.

When I started Classical Opera we quickly gained a reputation for our work in identifying and nurturing top-quality young singers. This was partly due to the fact that we couldn’t afford more established artists, but it’s also true that this repertoire particularly suits young voices.

Young singers also tend to be more open to the style of detailed, explorative rehearsals that I prefer, and what I find particularly satisfying now is that when singers who worked with us at the start of their careers come back after a gap of several years, we already have a shared language which comes back in a matter of minutes, as with all good friendships.

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It took me rather longer to work out and identify the sort of players that I most enjoyed working with, but now that we have established such a strong and loyal sense of ensemble I’m continually inspired and fed by the players with whom I work.

It takes a certain type of open spirit, and intellectual rigour, to tame and master these wonderful old instruments, and building an ensemble isn’t just about finding the best players but also about instilling the right shared values, goals and reasons for doing what we do.

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5. Your favourite work by Mozart and your favourite work by J. Haydn.

Oh dear, these answers will probably change on a daily basis!

For Mozart it would probably have to be one of the operas or one of the piano concertos.

The C minor Mass would also be a contender, probably more so than the Requiem, and a recent addition to the short-list would be the Sinfonia Concertante K.364, which I conducted for the first time three months ago. But how to whittle it down to one? The old cliché is probably right, that my favourite Mozart opera is the one I’m working on at the time, but this week, and off the top of my head because I know the question will get harder the more I think about it, my short-list would be Idomeneo, Così fan tutte, Die Zauberflöte and the Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor. And if I had to name one – today, and without questioning why on earth Figaro and Don Giovanni aren’t on my shortlist – I’ll say Così fan tutte. It’s such a profound, complex and modern score, and is still widely misunderstood and under-appreciated.

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Haydn is hardly any easier.

As I’ve already said previously, I’m on a mission to champion all the symphonies without a nickname, because they tend to be overlooked in favour of those with nicknames, and among those nos. 47, 80 and 99 are particular favourites. Today’s podium places, though, would be occupied by:

3. String Quartet in F major, Op. 77, no. 2.
2. Piano Sonata No. 52 in E flat major
1. Symphony No. 44 in E minor, Trauer

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6. Do you have in mind the name of some neglected composer of the 18th century you’d like to see re-evaluated?

You mean apart from Mozart?…

… I’m only joking, but I do love the line of Peter Schickele, who, when asked which composer he considered to be the most underrated, replied: «Mozart – since the highest rave is a gross understatement».

Gluck CO’s Blessed Spirit at Gramophone Critics Choice December 2010

Apart from Mozart, there is still valuable work to be done in increasing appreciation of Gluck (especially his pre-Orfeo operas) and Johann Christian Bach, but of the more forgotten names there are five that stand out for me: Beck, Jommelli, Kraus, Traetta and Vanhal.

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7. Name a neglected piece of music of the 18th century you’d like to see performed in concert with more frequency.

I have quite a lot of these, including several by the composers I’ve just mentioned.

They’re not confined to lesser known composers either; in March we’re performing Haydn’s Applausus cantata, which doesn’t seem to have been presented in London for many years. I’m in a very fortunate position, because when I do come across a neglected work that I really rate I can often incorporate it into our programming.

For this question, though, I’m actually going to choose a work by Mozart – his concert aria Ah, lo previdi, K.272…

Perfido!

… Mozart’s concert arias in general don’t get as much exposure as they deserve, and I’ve never understood why this should be…

… Maybe promoters just don’t think of singers to fill their concerto slot. Whatever the reasons for their relative neglect, Mozart’s concert arias contain some of his best music, and the more extended ones are like concentrated mini-operas in their own right.

Ah, lo previdi is certainly one of these, a scena lasting over twelve minutes and incorporating two fiercely dramatic recitatives – the second one in particular contains some astonishing harmonic shifts and moments of exquisite, tender vulnerability – and two arias, the second of which incorporates a beautiful oboe solo.

Mozart clearly held the work in high regard, subsequently urging his beloved Aloysia Weber to learn it and «to put yourself in all seriousness into Andromeda’s situation and position», and the celebrated Mozart biographer Alfred Einstein wrote that Mozart «almost never wrote anything more ambitious, or containing stronger dramatic feeling».

We are including this piece in Perfido!, our recent recording of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven concert arias with Sophie Bevan, and I was delighted how many of the reviews singled it out for praise.

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8. Have you read a particular book on Mozart Era you consider important for the comprehension of the music of this period?

I’m very grateful for the opportunity that this question gives me to acknowledge some of the books I couldn’t do without!

With Mozart of course we are lucky in that we have a very substantial series of Mozart family letters that have survived, and Otto Deutsch’s collection of Mozart documents is similarly indispensable, so these are the two bibles.

Too many modern biographies intercede with their author’s own attempts to formulate a particular theory or new angle, but a glorious exception is Stanley Sadie’s Mozart: the early years. This was intended as the first of a two-part biography, but Stanley sadly died before he could write the second book. For a clear, authoritative and insightful overview of Mozart’s life and works up until 1781, though, this is the book to have.

Scarcely a month goes past without me referring to two other fabulous books: The Compleat Mozart (don’t be put off by the title), edited by Neal Zaslaw, is a wonderful compendium of Mozart’s complete works, and Peter Clive’s Mozart and his Circle contains invaluable biographical entries on all the important people in Mozart’s life.

Zaslaw’s benchmark book on Mozart’s Symphonies is also outstanding, and for Mozart’s operas I still don’t think that anyone has rivalled William Mann’s The Operas of Mozart, first published in 1977, which has the huge advantage of devoting a whole chapter to each of the pre-Idomeneo operas, rather than merging them into a token single-chapter appraisal.

My final top recommendation would be John A. Rice’s Mozart on the Stage, which has fascinating information and insights on how Mozart’s operas would have been composed, rehearsed and staged.

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9. Name a movie or a documentary that can improve the comprehension of the music of this period.

Like the play, the film of Amadeus has plenty of critics, but despite its faults it does recreate the spirit of Mozart’s Vienna (despite being filmed in Prague!), and the flights of fancy about how some of Mozart’s compositions came into being are captivating and imaginative, if spurious. I also find Farinelli exciting for its evocation of 18th-century theatres and opera performances.

In terms of documentaries, Phil Grabsky’s excellent In Search of… series has incorporated full length films devoted to Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven, but I have a hazy memory of a wonderful series of TV programmes on these composers (and Schubert) from the 1980s…

… It was presented by Bamber Gascoigne and had Stanley Sadie as musical consultant, and I think it was called Man and Music. I’ve no idea whether these programmes are available anywhere now, but I’d love to know if they are, if only to see if they’re as good as I remember…

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

I’m not sure I can think of anywhere about which I could make such an expansive claim, but the Drottningholm Slottsteater is my own personal First Choice.

I’m a big fan of Stockholm and its people, and the story behind the theatre’s preservation is such a fortuitous and romantic one. It’s an amazingly beautiful place and setting, too, but more than anything it’s the ambience inside the theatre itself which is truly magical. It feels as close to time travel as I’m ever likely to get!

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

Thank you!

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Interview March 2017: 10 Questions with J. A. Montaño (English)

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José Antonio Montaño conducting Martín y Soler, Haydn & Mozart:



1. Thanks to your intense activity as conductor, artistic director, music scholar and critical editor, you managed to develop an important series of music projects on a very special Viennese triad: Mozart, Haydn and Martín y Soler. So you really re-create, this way, that special authentic Vienna musical atmosphere of the 1780s, when Haydn was already a papa and both Mozart and Martín y Soler (backed by those great librettos by Da Ponte) became the Theatre Opera Best Sellers from Vienna to Prague with their Nozze di Figaro, Una cosa rara, Don Giovanni and L’arbore di Diana, and Martín y Soler was so successful to become the favourite composer of the Imperial Court. What fascinated and fascinates you most about the music of Martín y Soler? And, in your opinion, what characteristics of his music and of his operas impressed and attracted the 18th century audience so much that Martín y Soler’s operas managed to receive such an extraordinary amount of theatre performances for that period (almost 100 performances only for Una cosa rara and the usual theatre income for 24 successful performances was ca. 20,000 florins, i.e. ca. 140,000 modern US dollars: Mozart’s annual Imperial salary was 800 florins, i.e. ca. 4,800 modern US dollars)?

Since my early years as a musical director, I have had the impulse to research and perform forgotten works by not-so-popular musicians such as La Contadina by Johann Adolph Hasse (1699-1783), the zarzuela Las labradoras de Murcia by Antonio Rodríguez de Hita (1724-1787) and the oratorio Il sacrifizio di Abramo by Camilla de Rossi (16??-1710). In this context and while I was studyig in-depth Spanish authors of the 17th and 18th centuries, Vicente Martín y Soler (1754-1806) appeared. It also coincided that back in 2006, when the Teatro Real de Madrid (Royal Theatre of Madrid), where I was working as conductor of its young orchestra Orquesta Escuela de la Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid, decided to produce the opera Il Tutore Burlato (1775) on the occasion of the 200th death anniversary of Martín y Soler and therefore I had the chance to work in-depth on his music. It was in that very moment that I began studying his work and life more thoroughly.

Martín y Soler, Il Tutore Burlato, Overture

The first factor that has drawn me to Martín y Soler was that he, a Spanish composer, could enjoy such resounding success in Europe’s most prominent musical centres in the final years of the 18th century, and that he was, at the same time, in direct competition to musicians of the highest level such as Mozart himself, whom he even managed to surpass in popularity.

What I find fascinating about Martín y Soler also coincides with what I think was one of the keys to his success: to be a flexible and versatile musician who knew how to adapt himself and his music to the various trends and requirements that he had to face during the various and different (also geographical) situations of his life, be that in Spain, Italy, England, Russia or Vienna with their respective Italian, French and Russian operas.

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A great example of this is what happened when the empress Catherine II of Russia requested the service of Vicente Martín y Soler, who was at that moment a highly acclaimed composer and a favourite of Joseph II in Vienna, where he was known, in his role of a successful and celebrated maestro, as lo Spagnuolo.

The czarina was not satisfied with the work of Domenico Cimarosa who was then maestro di cappella at the Imperial Court and whose duties included the composition of Italian operas and the new Russian opera which Catherine II wanted to empower. Martín y Soler knew how to adapt to his Russian operas and highly fulfilled what was expected of him.

On the other hand, thanks to this replacement, in 1791 Cimarosa reached Vienna where he occupied, for a few months, the position of court composer that was formerly deserted by Salieri, (a position also intensely desired by Mozart, dead by then), to conduct the premiere of Il Matrimonio segreto in February 1792 with resounding success, which is considered today his best opera and one of the best comic operas of that period. It is well known how, after the sudden death (by poisoning?) of the Austrian emperor Leopold in March 1792, Cimarosa had to leave the Imperial Court and Salieri received his position of court composer back, to keep it de facto for another thirty years.

Cimarosa, Il matrimonio segreto (2012)

Another of the keys to Martín y Soler’s success was that he knew how to keep this flexibility and his ability to adapt without ever losing his own style and essence.

Throughout his career, his aesthetics follow certain general guidelines similar to those used by Spanish composers of the 18th century: a clear and clean orchestration, that avoids excess and artificiality where the voice did not compete in a counterpoint way with the orchestra, and a contained harmony. This apparent simplicity, his capacity for creating beautiful and catchy melodies and that amiable atmosphere of divertimento of his operas enchanted and captivated the audience of all the social classes.
It surely comes across as striking, yet during Martín y Soler’s Viennese period his operas were certainly more frequently performed and had more success than the majority of Mozart’s, who deliberately wrote for intellectual elite.

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2. You gained great audience and critical acclaim a few years ago, thanks to your most beautiful and brilliant production of Haydn’s opera La vera costanza. What did you love most of Haydn, the opera composer? And in what elements of his operas do you think the inventiveness and wit of the Haydn of the Quartets and of the Symphonies do emerge with all their charm?

Haydn really played a major and fundamental role in establishing two of the greatest forms of western music: the string quartet and the symphony. He used the string quartet as the means for formal experimenting, achieving thus that peculiar unity, where before there was just a series of movements. He exports his work on the string quartet to his symphonies and, of course, to his operas as well. That interrelation between different genres that he encouraged is, in its essence, both logical and visible. During his life, Haydn enjoyed success and recognition for his work, as rarely happens in history, however after his death and to this day his numerous and valuable works have become progressively forgotten and neglected due to various circumstances. Among these circumstances there is certainly also the appearance of Mozart and Beethoven, and so daddy Haydn started occupying the real undeserved role of a mere introduction to the well-known geniuses.

His very works are a real example of this kind of oblivion that their composer Haydn had to suffer, since they are rarely featured in present theatre programmes, and this is a tremendous pity.

I have been lucky enough to be able to work on such magnificent title as La vera costanza (1779)…

Haydn, La vera costanza, Sinfonia Introduzione

Haydn, La vera costanza, Finale Atto II

… and Il mondo della luna (1777), both composed while Haydn was in the service of the Eszterházy family (and the majority of his operatic catalogue was conceived, written and produced in such circumstances).

Haydn’s creativity and imagination are overwhelming. His arias and ensemble numbers have their own personality and they are characterized by that peculiar Haydnian scent, so to speak. Haydn is a real magician when it comes to regulating the intensity of music and to carrying it to its climax in a masterly way in his Finale, as his friend and admirer Mozart did in a very similar way.

However Haydn had a disadvantage, when we consider his opera production in comparison to that of Mozart and Martín y Soler: the quality of his librettos, in reality, was not excellent. Working in the Eszterházy court, he did not have a lot of opportunities to work with librettists of the rank of Lorenzo Da Ponte, while Mozart and Martín y Soler could work with him, one of the best librettists of that period. Probably this is one of the reasons why present day theatres do not produce his operas with particular assiduousness, even though Haydn’s music is so marvellous.

Another aspect that I much cherish in Haydn is his humour, always so manifestly evident in his entire musical production and this even more overtly and effectively in his own operas.

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3. Thanks to your activity as concert organizer, you have revived also a special type of 1780s concert: concerts featuring, during the same soirée, music by Mozart and by Martín y Soler. Probably the first time this happens since 1780s, when we know from the sources that music-lovers adored to organize such types of concerts (Mozart+Martín y Soler) with «extraordinarily numerous audience… and in unanimous satisfaction… elicited unanimous applause». What have been your impressions in finally re-uniting such two great masters of music for the same concert? Mozart wrote also a few vocal pieces to be included in the Operas by Martín y Soler: do you think he wrote such pieces, by using exclusively his own style or added also a bit of Martín y Soler in them?

I see this type of programmes with great satisfaction, both on a personal level and also because of the reaction of the audience and of the musicians themselves. A marvellous example is the programme for the debut of my period instrument orchestra La Madrileña which featured exclusively works by both authors. I chose masterpieces by Mozart such as the Symphony No. 40 in G Minor,…

Mozart, Symphony nº 40

…  the aria of Leporello Madamina, il catalogo è questo from Don Giovanni or the duo Crudel! Perchè finora from The marriage of Figaro and I combined them with overtures, arias and duos from operas by Martín y Soler such as Il burbero di buon cuore, Una cosa rara, La capricciosa corretta and L’isola del piacere. These works did not only prove a competence of Martín y Soler on the level of a Mozart, but the audience and even some of the orchestra members themselves were really amazed at the intrinsic high quality of Martín y Soler’s works.

Regarding your second question, yes indeed, the musical interrelation between Mozart and Martín y Soler is not only due to the famous quote from Una cosa rara which appears in the finale of Don Giovanni.

Sometimes these operas were performed during a long period of time and it would be necessary to replace one or another of the singers and such situations led to inevitably remake and readjust the music to the new voices.
This is exactly what happened in 1789 with the repositioning of a few arias of Il Burbero di buon cuore for the character of Madama Lucilla: Chi sa qual sia and Vado, ma dove.

Mozart, Aria Chi sa qual sia

This opera by Martín y Soler had premiered three years before and the new singer, Louise Villeneuve, needed for her arias to be developed in a more centred register. As lo Spagnuolo, Martín y Soler, was in San Petersburg, Mozart received the assignment for the rewriting. Mozart accepted and composed these two magnificent arias based on the same text by Lorenzo Da Ponte, yet in his own personal style.

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4. Your orchestra La Madrileña receives its name after Martín y Soler first opera Il tutore burlato or La Madrileña (1775-1776 as zarzuela), both as an homage to Martín y Soler and as a label for your Music Project The Martín y Soler Project. Among your activities with your orchestra, you are presenting a series of concerts featuring again rare beautiful music from the Spain of the 18th century with works by Martín y Soler, Boccherini, José de Nebra, Rodriguez de Hita and from the Zarzuela tradition. What are your vision and your projects for your orchestra La Madrileña and for the music of 18th century for the future, especially regarding The Martín y Soler Project? Do you think also that your activity of music critical editor will lead you also to re-discover some other lost music gems, after your marvellous work with Martín y Soler’s opera Pesnolubie?

I have great and ambitious expectations for La Madrileña and The Martín y Soler Project related activities. I hope we could soon complete our concert activities with also a series of productions of opera and zarzuela; the musicians I am fortunate to rely on are extremely capable and this allows them to tackle any type of production.

Regarding the Martín y Soler Project, which is in the DNA of La Madrileña, it is through this project that we aspire to encounter the recognition that Martín y Soler deserves. I firmly believe that the ideal way to showcase his music qualities is through an orchestra of period instruments of the highest standard such as La Madrileña.

Regarding the second question, I have been finding really hidden gems for so many years, until today, and I am sure that this state of things will certainly continue in this way, as long as I steadily carry on a strenuous archival and documentary research.

On the other hand, and especially regarding the Spanish music heritage, we have to state that it is so vast and of such a high quality, that it is hard to believe that it has been so scarcely performed so far. In addition, I have the pleasure to be able to rely on the invaluable help of various musicologists. Vera Fouter is one of them and her contribution is the largest one to The Martín y Soler Project. Doctor Fouter (Vera Fouter at Academia; Read here her work on Martín y Soler – University of Oviedo: La Estancia en Rusia de Vicente Martín y Soler: nuevas aportaciones musicologicas) is an academic major, specialized in Martín y Soler and it is mainly thanks to her studies and efforts that the revival in modern times of three arias from the opera Pesnolubie by Martín y Soler has been possible and this with the collaboration of La Madrileña: such works, in fact, have not been performed for more than 200 years!

 

Martín y Soler, Aria V svéte liúdi svoevólni, from opera Pesnolubie

Presently we continue working together on Martín y Soler’s music and we are really looking forward to being able to show the fruit of our work, as soon as possible, by presenting, to the public, new marvellous forgotten gems by him and by other composers.

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5. Your favourite work by Mozart and your favourite work by J. Haydn.

This is a tough question, since I am literally capable of crazily falling in love with the works I am working on at the moment.

If I am conducting the 41st Symphony by Mozart, it happens that, during the process of study, the rehearsals, and the concerts, that very symphony can become even my favourite symphony ever.

And this always happens to me, always and with all the works I am working on.

However, if I had really to choose an opera, in particular, and nothing else, I’d choose Don Giovanni.

Mozart, Don Giovanni, Overture

Mozart, Don Giovanni, Aria Madamina, il catalogo è questo

I also think that that very peculiar experience that one lives when conducting (one’s memories, perceptions, the atmosphere, etc.), always exerts a great influence on one’s disposition towards things and also towards music works.

Many things, so, may exert a direct influence on one’s choices, but, without a doubt, Don Giovanni is special to me.
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For Haydn, I would choose Die Schöpfung.

It is a masterpiece for which I have always cultivated a profound admiration: it is an oratorio full of subtleties and of dramatic qualities, well deserving to be positioned among the greatest masterpieces of all time.

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6. Beside Martín y Soler, do you have in mind the name of some neglected composer of the 18th century you’d like to see re-evaluated?

I am interested in José de Nebra (1702-1768), a Spanish composer who composed marvellous zarzuelas and sacred works.

He is a great artist who, with minimal resources, was capable of achieving great expressiveness: a characteristic typical only of great maestros.

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7. Considering your work on Martín y Soler and the zarzuela, name a neglected piece of music of the 18th century you’d like to see performed in concert with more frequency.

Any opera by Martín y Soler and any zarzuela by Nebra represent marvellous concert and performance proposals, worthy to be included into any Music Season programme more frequently.

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8. Have you read a particular book on Mozart Era you consider important for the comprehension of the music of this period?

I think it is of great importance to develop a proper knowledge both of the oldest and of the latest musical treatises, with a particular attention to those treatises, which belong to the same era as the music works you are working on: it’s the only way to better understand any phase of the musical creativity process in its correct context and also within the historical flow.

To have a wider perspective always gives you the possibility of a better comprehension both of the subject, as a whole, and of its single parts and elements. Considering this special perspective, I think that the famous treatises by Quantz and Leopold Mozart are indispensable tools for any musician, even though those treatises belong to a previous generation, or better, exactly because they belong to that previous generation that produced the music of the 18th century.

On the other hand, I consider it very useful to develop also a proper historical, social and political knowledge, and not only a musical and an artistic one. I would like to cite here The Present State of Music in France and Italy by Charles Bruney and the Memoirs by Lorenzo Da Ponte, both perfect books for that type of intellectual work, I was talking about.

[The Memoirs by Lorenzo Da Ponte are already available to read & download at the MozartCircle Library: Mozart’s Life Books – Other Sources. Also the other books and treatises will be available soon.]

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9. Name a movie or a documentary that can improve the comprehension of the music of this period.

Considering the movies related to classicism, it is inevitable to remember the most famous Amadeus.

To complete an ideal trilogy that would help to grant a perspective on the previous and later periods I would cite Eroica, which re-enacts the first rehearsal of the 3rd Symphony by Beethoven (the recording is with musicians who play on period instruments), and Farinelli, il castrato, especially because of the very peculiar relationship of this great singer and of his family with Spain.

 

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

I think that if I had to choose a place, it would be Vienna.

The weight and influence that Haydn and Mozart had on Beethoven and on the future of the German and European music is simply indisputable.

However we cannot forget to mention Italy.

The musical genre of Viennese classicism, in fact, is par excellence, in reality, the Italian Opera buffa, to which later composers, like Rossini and Donizetti, gave their enormous contribution, preparing the way to a long series of excellent maestros, from Bellini to Verdi.

 

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

Thank you!

Copyright © 2017 MozartCircle. All rights reserved. MozartCircle exclusive property. 
Iconography is in public domain or in fair use.

Entrevista Marzo 2017: 10 Preguntas con J. A. Montaño (Español)

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Read this Interview in English

José Antonio Montaño: Sitios Oficiales
José Antonio Montaño Sitio Oficial: José Antonio Montaño
José Antonio Montaño Sitio Oficial: La Madrileña Orquesta
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José Antonio Montaño dirigiendo Martín y Soler, Haydn & Mozart:



1. Gracias a su intensa actividad como director de orquesta, director artístico, estudioso de música y editor crítico, ha logrado desarrollar una importante serie de proyectos musicales con una tríada vienesa muy especial: Mozart, Haydn y Martín y Soler. Realmente recrea, de esta manera, esta específica y auténtica atmósfera musical de la Viena de la década de 1780, cuando Haydn ya era papá Haydn y tanto Mozart como Martín y Soler (respaldados por esos grandes libretos de Da Ponte) crearon los Best Sellers de los teatros de ópera de Viena a Praga con sus Nozze di Figaro, Una cosa rara, Don Giovanni y L’arbore di Diana, conviertiendo al existoso Martín y Soler en el compositor favorito de la Corte Imperial. ¿Qué es lo que más le fascina de la música de Martín y Soler? Y, en su opinión, ¿Qué características de su música y de sus óperas impresionaron y atrajeron tanto al público del siglo XVIII para que las óperas de Martín y Soler se representaran en esa cantidad tan extraordinaria de cifras durante ese período (casi 100 sólo para Una cosa Rara y el ingreso habitual de un teatro para 24 representaciones exitosas estaba ca. 20 000 florines, i.e. ca. 140 000 US dólares modernos: el salario anual Imperial de Mozart estaba 800 florines, i.e. ca. 4 800 US dólares modernos)?

Desde mis primeros años como director musical he tenido el impulso interno de investigar y llevar a escena obras olvidadas de autores no muy populares como La Contadina de Johann Adolph Hasse (1699-1783), la zarzuela Las labradoras de Murcia de Antonio Rodríguez de Hita (1724-1787) o el oratorio Il sacrifizio di Abramo de Camilla de Rossi (16??-1710). En este contexto profundicé en el estudio de autores españoles de los siglos XVII y XVIII donde apareció el gran Vicente Martín y Soler (1754-1806). Se dio además la circunstancia de que en el año 2006 el Teatro Real de Madrid, donde trabajaba como director de su joven orquesta la Orquesta Escuela de la Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid, programó su ópera Il Tutore Burlato (1775) con motivo del 200 aniversario de su muerte, por lo que tuve la oportunidad de trabajar a fondo su música. Fue a partir de este momento cuando empecé a estudiar su obra y vida de manera más profunda.

Martín y Soler, Il Tutore Burlato, Overture

Lo primero que me atrajo de él fue el hecho de que un compositor español lograra éxitos tan rotundos en los centros musicales europeos más importantes de finales del siglo XVIII, y que fuera la competencia de autores como el propio Mozart, al que superó en popularidad.

Lo que me fascina de él coincide con lo que fue, a mi parecer, una de las claves de su éxito; ser un músico flexible y versátil que supo amoldarse a las diferentes corrientes y exigencias que se fue encontrando durante los diferentes periodos de su vida en España, Italia, Viena, Inglaterra y Rusia a través de la ópera italiana, francesa o rusa.

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Un ejemplo de esto ocurrió cuando la emperatriz Catalina II de Rusia reclamó al compositor más aclamado del momento y favorito de José II de Viena, Vicente Martín y Soler lo Spagnuolo.

La zarina no estaba satisfecha con el trabajo que estaba realizando Domenico Cimarosa contratado como Maestro de capilla de la Corte Imperial y cuyas funciones comprendían la composición de ópera italiana y la nueva ópera rusa que Catalina II quería fortalecer. Martín y Soler supo adaptarse con sus óperas rusas y cumplió altamente con sus expectativas.

Por otro lado, gracias a esta sustitución, Cimarosa regresaría a Viena donde ocuparía el puesto de compositor de la corte abandonado previamente por Salieri, y tan ansiado por el ya fallecido Mozart, para estrenar con rotundo éxito en 1792 Il Matrimonio segreto, considerada hoy día su mejor ópera y una de las mejores óperas cómicas del momento. Es bien sabido cómo, después de la muerte súbita (por envenenamiento?) del emperador austríaco Leopoldo en marzo 1792, Cimarosa se vio obligado a abandonar la Corte Imperial y Salieri obtuvo de nuevo el cargo de compositor de la corte, para mantenerlo de facto durante otros treinta años.

Cimarosa, Il matrimonio segreto (2012)

Otra de las claves de su éxito fue que Martín y Soler supo mantener esta flexibilidad y capacidad de adaptación sin perder nunca su propio estilo y esencia.

Su estética mantiene a lo largo de su carrera unas pautas generales similares a las que usaban los compositores españoles del siglo XVIII; una orquestación clara y limpia que huye de los excesos y artificios donde la voz no competía contrapuntisticamente contra la orquesta y una armonía contenida. Esta aparente sencillez,  su capacidad para crear bonitas y pegadizas melodías y el clima amable de divertimento de sus óperas cautivaron al público de todas las clases sociales. Resulta llamativo pero, lo cierto es que en la época vienesa de Martín y Soler sus óperas se representaron mucho más y con mayor éxito que las de Mozart el cual escribía deliberadamente para una élite intelectual.

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2. Usted ganó gran audiencia y aclamación de la crítica hace unos años, gracias a su producción más hermosa y brillante de la ópera de Haydn La vera costanza. ¿Qué es lo que más le gusta de Haydn, el compositor de ópera? ¿Y en qué elementos de sus óperas cree que la inventiva y el ingenio del Haydn de los Cuartetos y de las Sinfonías emergen con todo su encanto?

Haydn es el máximo responsable del establecimiento de dos de las grandes formas de la música occidental como son el cuarteto de cuerda y la sinfonía. Utilizó el cuarteto como medio de experimentación formal logrando una unidad donde antes había una sucesión de movimientos. Esta característica la exporta a sus sinfonías y por su puesto, a sus óperas. La interrelación entre los distintos géneros que cultivó es lógica y visible. Haydn gozó en vida de un reconocimiento absoluto como ha ocurrido en pocas ocasiones a lo largo de la historia, pero tras su muerte y hasta la actualidad su numerosa y valiosa obra ha quedado en gran parte olvidada por diversas circunstancias, entre ellas la aparición de Mozart y Beethoven donde papa Haydn parece haber quedado relegado al mero preámbulo de los dos archiconocidos genios.

Sus óperas son el mejor ejemplo de este olvido ya que raramente se ven programadas por los teatros actuales lo que es una verdadera lástima.

Yo he tenido la gran suerte de poder trabajar dos magníficos títulos como son La vera costanza (1779)…

Haydn, La vera costanza, Sinfonia Introduzione

Haydn, La vera costanza, Finale Atto II

… e Il mondo della luna (1777), ambas compuestas estando al servicio de la casa Eszterházy como la mayoría de su catálogo operístico.

La creatividad e imaginación de Haydn es abrumadora. Sus arias y conjuntos tienen una personalidad propia y huelen a él. Es un mago regulando la intensidad de la música y llevándola a sus clímax de una manera magistral en sus Finale al igual que hacía su amigo y admirado Mozart.

Pero Haydn tenía una desventaja frente a Mozart y a Martín y Soler, la calidad de los libretos. Haydn al estar en la corte de los Eszterházy no tuvo tantas oportunidades de trabajar con libretistas de la altura de Lorenzo Da Ponte, como sí pudieron hacer Mozart y Martín y Soler. Quizás esta sea una de las razones por la que los teatros actuales no programan con tanta asiduidad sus óperas, pese a que su música es maravillosa.

Otro de los aspectos que adoro de Haydn es su humor, manifiesto en toda su producción musical pero de manera mucho más clara y efectiva en sus óperas.

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3. Gracias a su actividad como organizador de conciertos, ha hecho revivir también un tipo especial de conciertos en torno a la década de 1780: conciertos que presentan, durante la misma soirée, música de Mozart y de Martín y Soler. Probablemente la primera vez que esto sucede desde la década de 1780, cuando sabemos por las fuentes que los amantes de la música solían organizar este tipo de conciertos (Mozart + Martín y Soler) con «audiencia extraordinariamente numerosa … y con satisfacción unánime … provocó unánimes aplausos». ¿Cuáles han sido sus impresiones finalmente al reunir a estos dos grandes maestros de música en un mismo concierto? Mozart escribió también algunas piezas vocales para ser incluidas en las Óperas de Martín y Soler: ¿cree que escribió tales piezas, usando exclusivamente su propio estilo o cree que añadó también un poco de Martín y Soler en ellas?

Mi impresión personal respecto a este tipo de programas es de auténtica satisfacción tanto a nivel personal como por la reacción del público y de los propios músicos. Por ejemplo, el programa del concierto de presentación de mi orquesta de instrumentos de época La Madrileña estuvo formado exclusivamente por obras de ambos autores. Elegí obras maestras de Mozart como son la Sinfonía nº 40 en Sol Menor,…

Mozart, Sinfonía nº 40

…   el aria de Leporello Madamina, il catalogo è questo de Don Giovanni o el dúo Crudel! Perchè finora de Le nozze di Figaro y las combiné con oberturas, arias y dúos de óperas de Martín y Soler como Il burbero di buon cuore, Una cosa rara, La capricciosa corretta o L’isola del piacere. Estas piezas no sólo estuvieron a la altura del combate con Mozart sino que el público, e incluso algunos miembros de la propia orquesta, quedaron sorprendidos de la gran calidad de las obras de Martín y Soler.

Respecto a la segunda pregunta, efectivamente la interrelación musical entre Mozart y Martín y Soler no se debe solamente a la famosa cita de Una cosa rara que aparece en el final de Don Giovanni.

Hay que saber que los compositores escribían sus óperas conociendo de antemano a los cantantes que las iban a interpretar y ajustaban sus composiciones a las características vocales de éstos. A veces estas óperas se representaban durante mucho tiempo y era necesario sustituir a algún cantante, lo que obligaba a rehacer y reajustar la música para adaptarla a las nuevas voces. Esto es justo lo que ocurrió en 1789 con la reposición de Il Burbero di buon cuore en las dos arias del personaje Madama Lucilla: Chi sa qual sia y Vado, ma dove.

Mozart, Aria Chi sa qual sia

Esta ópera de Martín y Soler se había estrenado tres años antes y la nueva cantante Louise Villeneuve necesitaba que sus arias se desarrollaran en un registro más centrado. Como lo Spagnuolo se encontraba en San Petersburgo se le hizo el encargo de la reescritura a Mozart quien aceptó y compuso estas dos magníficas arias sobre el mismo texto de Lorenzo Da Ponte pero, en su propio estilo personal.

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4. Su orquesta La Madrileña recibe su nombre de la primera ópera de Martín y Soler Il tutore burlato (1775) al convertirse en zarzuela La Madrileña (1776), como homenaje a Martín y Soler y como sello para su Proyecto Martín y Soler. Entre sus actividades con su orquesta, está presentando una serie de conciertos con una desconocida y bella música de la España del siglo XVIII con obras de Martín y Soler, Boccherini, José de Nebra, Rodríguez de Hita y de la tradición zarzuelística. ¿Cuál es su visión y sus proyectos para su orquesta La Madrileña y para la música del siglo XVIII en el futuro, especialmente en relación al Proyecto Martín y Soler? ¿Cree que su actividad como editor crítico de música le llevará a redescubrir algunas otras joyas de la música perdida, después de tu maravilloso trabajo con la ópera Pesnolubie de Martín y Soler?

Mis expectativas respecto a la actividad con La Madrileña y The Martín y Soler Project son grandes y ambiciosas. Espero que pronto podamos complementar nuestra actividad de conciertos con producciones de ópera o zarzuela, el nivel de los músicos con los que tengo la fortuna de contar es muy alto y permite abordar cualquier tipo de producción.

Respecto al proyecto Martín y Soler, pertenece al ADN de La Madrileña, a través de él queremos buscar el reconocimiento que merece Martín y Soler. Creo firmemente que la forma óptima de mostrar las cualidades de su música es a través de una orquesta de instrumentos de época del más alto nivel como La Madrileña.

Respecto a la segunda pregunta, llevo muchos años encontrándome con joyas escondidas y estoy seguro de que seguirá siendo así ya que mantengo una intensa labor de investigación.

Por otro lado y en relación al patrimonio musical español, decir que es muy vasto, de gran calidad y que está menos interpretado de lo que merece. Además, tengo la fortuna de poder contar con la inestimable ayuda de diferentes musicólogos, uno de los que más está aportando a The Martín y Soler Project es Vera Fouter. La doctora Fouter (Vera Fouter en Academia; Lee aquí su obra sobre Martín y Soler – Universidad de Oviedo: La Estancia en Rusia de Vicente Martín y Soler: nuevas aportaciones musicologicas) está especializada en este autor y es la primera responsable de que se pudieran reestrenar en tiempos modernos con La Madrileña tres arias de la ópera Pesnolubie de Martín y Soler que hacía más de 200 años que no se interpretaban.

Martín y Soler, Aria V svéte liúdi svoevólni, de la ópera Pesnolubie

Actualmente seguimos trabajando conjuntamente sobre su música y esperamos poder mostrar pronto el fruto de nuestro trabajo con nuevas Joyas olvidadas de este y otros autores.

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5. Su obra favorita de Mozart y su obra favorita de J. Haydn.

Es una pregunta muy difícil de responder. Tengo la capacidad de enamorarme con locura de las obras que estoy trabajando en cada momento.

Si estoy dirigiendo la Sinfonía 41 de Mozart, durante mi estudio, ensayos y conciertos será mi sinfonía preferida.

Siempre me ocurre lo mismo.

Pero si tuviera que decantarme por una ópera, elegiría Don Giovanni.

Mozart, Don Giovanni, Overture

Mozart, Don Giovanni, Aria Madamina, il catalogo è questo

También creo que influye en esto las experiencias que uno ha tenido al dirigir esas obras, los recuerdos, las sensaciones, etc.

Influyen muchas cosas, pero Don Giovanni sin duda es especial para mí.
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Respecto a Haydn elegiría Die Schöpfung.

Es una obra maestra que siempre he admirado llena de sulilezas y dramatismo, digna de ocupar podio entre las mejores obras maestras de todos los tiempos.

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6. Junto a Martín y Soler, ¿tiene usted en mente el nombre de algún otro compositor descuidado del siglo XVIII que le gustaría ver reevaluado?

Me interesa mucho José de Nebra (1702-1768), un compositor español autor de estupendas zarzuelas y obras sacras.

Es un gran artista que consigue con los mínimos recursos una gran expresividad propia sólo de los grandes maestros.

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7. Considerando su trabajo sobre Martín y Soler y la zarzuela, nombre una obra musical abandonada del siglo XVIII que le gustaría ver interpretada en concierto con más frecuencia.

Cualquier ópera de Martín y Soler y cualquier zarzuela de Nebra serían estupendas propuestas dignas de ser programadas con más frecuencia.

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8. ¿Ha leído algún libro en particular sobre la era de Mozart que considere importante para la comprensión de la música de este período?

Creo que es muy importante conocer los tratados musicales anteriores y posteriores además de los de la propia época para entender mejor cualquier etapa. Tener una perspectiva más amplia da una mejor comprensión tanto del todo como de la parte. En este aspecto considero imprescindibles los famosos tratados de Quantz y Leopold Mozart pertenecientes a la generación anterior.

Por otro lado considero que es muy útil recabar también conocimientos históricos, sociales y políticos, no sólo musicales y artísticos. En este sentido me gustaría citar The Present State of Music in France and Italy de Charles Bruney o Memoirs de Lorenzo Da Ponte.

[Las Memorias de Lorenzo Da Ponte ya están disponibles para leer y descargar a la Biblioteca MozartCircle: Libros sobre la vida de Mozart – Otras fuentes. Luego también los otros libros y tratados estarán disponibles.]

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9. Nombre una película o un documental que pueda mejorar la comprensión de la música de este período.

Pensando en películas relacionadas con el clasicismo es inevitable acordarse de la famosísima Amadeus.

Para completar una trilogía que ayude a tener cierta perspectiva anterior y posterior citaría Heroica, que revive el primer ensayo de la 3a Sinfonía de Beethoven, grabada con músicos que tocan instrumentos de la época, y Farinelli, il castrato, especialmente por su relación con España.

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10. ¿Cree usted que hay un lugar especial que resultara crucial en la evolución de la música del siglo XVIII?

Creo que si hay que elegir un lugar sería Viena.

El peso e influencia que adquirieron Haydn y Mozart en Beethoven y en el futuro de la música alemana y europea es indiscutible.

Aunque no me puedo olvidar de Italia.

El género musical por excelencia del clasicismo vienés es la Opera buffa italiana a la que después contribuirían autores como Rossini o Donizetti, dando paso a una larga cadena de excelentes maestros, pasando por Bellini hasta llegar a Verdi.

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Muchas gracias por haber tomado el tiempo para responder a nuestras preguntas!

Gracias!

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