Giovanni Antonini conducts Bach, Haydn and Mozart — With Giovanni Sollima

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

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Program notes

Flutist and Baroque specialist Giovanni Antonini conducts the esteemed Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in a panorama of 18th-century German orchestral music, bringing a flexible approach to the historically informed performance practice of which Antonini has been a champion since the 1990s. They begin with Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 1, a quintessentially Baroque work from around 1718 that brings German counterpoint to French dance pieces. Cello virtuoso Giovanni Sollima then performs Haydn’s Second Cello Concerto (1783), technically demanding and astonishingly innovative for its time.

Premiered on January 19, 1787—“one of the happiest days of my life” for the composer—Mozart’s “Prague” Symphony No. 38 is an undeniable testament to his genius. Breaking with the four-movement form then in vogue, the symphony unfolds in three movements: the first, opening with a dramatic and unusually long introduction, features a relentless counterpoint, six melodies in lively conversation; the lyrical second movement anticipates the Romantic symphony in its prominently featured wind instruments; and the finale recalls a duet between Cherubino and Susanna from The Marriage of Figaro. The scope and power of the work helped expand the stature of the symphonic genre, paving the way for later masterworks by Schubert, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, and Bruckner…

A closer look: featured composers

Further listening: featured works

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