Bach’s unbeatable masterwork cannot go unheard; The first of the dance movements, Air, is undoubtedly one of the most sublimely beautiful pieces that Bach left behind.

Bach’s orchestra suits are mostly written for the popular outdoor concerts in venerable Das Zimmermannsche Kaffeehaus’s garden, at Leipzig’s parade street. Composers gladly spent a miniscule church-music-fee when delivering music for concerts in cafes and outdoor pavilions. Suite No. 3 is written in time-typical form, with a French overture as an introduction, followed by orchestrated baroque dances. Bach’s unmatched mastership does not hide in this piece of music: The first of the dance movements, Air, is undoubtedly some of the most sublime beautiful Bach left behind.

70 years later Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart sat disillusioned, sick and debt-laden in his apartment in Vienna, while slowly acknowledging that his entire life project collapsed around him. Mozart created a variety of mythical works in his final years, apparently written without commission or the promise of income: the A-major Clarinet Concert, the Monolithic Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello in E Flat, and this Piano Concert No. 27 in B-major. Common to all of them is an almost dazzling beauty in which Mozart sets his mastership and life experience into what he most likely understood to be the final pieces he would come to Write.

After the intermission, we hear Beethoven’s 4th Symphony written in 1806, which has always been caught in between the powerful No. 3 (Eroica) and the great Symphony No. 5 in c-minor. Symphony No. 4 is a purely commissioned work, paid by Count Franz von Oppersdorff. It could be said that it does not carry as many devout thoughts as many of his other symphonies; however, it is melodious and gracious and suitable for performing in the count’s parlours. At the same time, the work has Beethoven’s fingerprints all over it. From time to time, the revolutionary Beethoven culminates in the background under the smoother lines of melody.

Matthew Halls, conductor
Paul Lewis, piano

J.S. Bach: Orchestra suite No. 3
Mozart: Concert for Piano No. 27
Beethoven: Symphony No. 4