Soloist: Yeol Eum Son (piano, South Korea)
Musical Preparation: Arina Vaganova
The Mariinsky Orchestra and Chorus of the Primorsky Stage
Conductor: Pavel Smelkov
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, KV 466
Requiem, KV 626
Concerto No 20 in D Minor for Piano and Orchestra is one of the most popular of Mozart’s concerti thanks to its romantic and passionate character. The first section precedes the emotional pages of Don Giovanni, while the third is the finale of Symphony No 40.
Mozart completed the score on 10 February 1785, and already the next day the composer performed his latest work in the casino room of the Mehlgrub at the opening of a series of six subscription concert. Performing the keyboard at the same time as conducting was his favourite method of influencing the public. It was Mozart, in the 1780s, who created a revolution, ridding the piano of its role as accompanist (which in line with tradition had been performed in the orchestra by the harpsichord and other keyboard instruments) and transformed it into a real soloist.
Mozart intended his concerti for the broader public. In a letter to his father he wrote: “It is concerti that are somewhere between too hard and too easy, there is much dazzle in them, they are pleasant to the ear, but, of course, they do not disappear into emptiness; in certain places there is satisfaction to be had only by connoisseurs – apropos, non-connoisseurs should inexplicably be pleased with them.”
There is perhaps no piece of music that is surrounded with as many legends and mysteries as Mozart's Requiem.
A man dressed in black
Bowed respectfully, commissioned a
Requiem from me, then disappeared.
My man in black gives me no peace Day and night.
The mysterious story of the man in black and the Requiem formed the basis for Pushkin's short tragedy Mozart and Salieri, written in 1830. The same theme was also the central feature in Milos Forman's sensational film Amadeusa century and a half later. The mystique of the legend was largely instrumental in the film's success, as it was in the popularity of the great composer's unfinished work (it was completed by Sussmayr from Mozart's sketches), though the true circumstances of the commission became clear quite soon afterwards.
The mysterious stranger, presented in Pushkin's work as "a vision of the grave", was no more than the servant of Count Walsegg, a great lover of music who played several instruments reasonably well. The count was not content with his fame as a performer – he particularly wished to gain renown also as a composer, but did not have the requisite ability. However, his ingenious inventiveness helped him to overcome this "insignificant" difficulty. He anonymously commissioned works from leading composers for large sums of money, then passed them off as his own. The "creative" idea of the Requiem came to him on the occasion of the anniversary of his wife's death.
Contrary to the legendary version, Mozart was in no hurry to start work on the commission. After agreeing to take it because of his acute need of money, he put it off in the hope of earning money from a composition by himself, not from somebody else, and only seriously started work on the Requiem when he was confined to bed by his fatal illness. This illness became the cause of rumours about Mozart's violent death, and played a cruel joke on the outstanding opera composer and teacher Antonio Salieri, who has gone down in history only as the poisoner of his brilliant rival. In fact, it is hardly likely that Salieri was responsible for Mozart's death, though it is certainly true that they had fallen out.
The Requiem, written for soloists, choir and orchestra, is a setting of the traditional Latin text and develops the traditions of the oratorios of Bach and Handel, whose scores Mozart studied attentively. The composer's operatic experience can be felt in the solo, choral and orchestral passages. Its brilliant expressiveness has guaranteed the success of the Requiem on the concert platform, and Mozart's interpretation of the movements has become a yardstick that continues to have an influence on composers to this day (Slonimsky's Requiem).
The Atkins program is a project of the Mariinsky Theater that unites the world’s leading teachers, accompanists, tutors and consultants on vocal skills, performing traditions and practices, languages, musical styles, acting technique, interpretation, and theatrical movement. The scholarship holders of the project are nine young singers who have already received public recognition, laureates and holders of special prizes and diplomas of the most prestigious international competitions and festivals. During the season the soloists work with the teachers and pianists of the Mariinsky Theater, as well as with the teachers of the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, the Opera San Francisco, the Teatro Regio in Torino. The scholarship holders are coached by such tutors as Craig Rutenberg, Christopher Middleton, Dennis Jock, directors Lori Feldman, Peter McClintock and Paula Williams.
Participation in the Program offers exceptional opportunities for artistic and professional development such as studying abroad or practicing Italian in L’universita per stranieri in Siena.
Along with the improvement of the singing skills, the Atkins scholarship holders tour with the troupe of the Mariinsky Theater and take part in various festivals, such as Stars of the White Nights, the Easter Festival, the International Far Eastern Mariinsky Festival, Mariinsky – Vladikavkaz, etc. Also, the Atkins Program participants are involved in more than thirty productions of the Mariinsky Theater, among them: The Idiot, Eugene Onegin, Don Juan, The Nightingale, Traviata, The Love Drink, Benvenuto Cellini, The Tsar’s Bride, Simon Boccanegra, Thus Do They All, The Oprichnik, Othello, Betrothal in a monastery. The soloists have been on several tours in Mexico and Chile, and collaborated with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. The artistic director of the project is Valery Gergiev.
The project exists thanks to the generous financial support of Veronika Atkins (USA).
Coach: Craig Rutenberg
Coaches and Repetiteurs: Olga Kondina, Arina Vaganova, Alexander Rubinov
Guest coaches: Christopher Middleton (Great Britain), Dennis Giauque (USA), Valeria Polunina (Russia, USA)
Repetiteurs: Peter McClintock (USA), Laurie Feldman (USA, Italy), Paula Williams (USA)
Teachers of foreign languages: Irina Shcherbakova, Natalia Lomakina, Natalia Rasskazova
The highlighting of performances by age represents recommendations.
This highlighting is being used in accordance with Federal Law N436-FZ dated 29 December 2010 (edition dated 1 May 2019) "On the protection of children from information that may be harmful to their health"