After the success of Così fan tutte and The Marriage of Figaro, René Jacobs' CD recording of this centrepiece of the Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy offered us his reflections on Classical opera and garnered serious acclaim worldwide. Performed at the Innsbruck festival in August 2006 and filmed in Baden-Baden, this production is nourished by his thoughts on Don Giovanni as taboo-breaker but still respects Mozart's intentions as closely as possible.
In the documentary Looking for Don Giovanni, the director Nayo Titzin follows the creation of this production in the search for musical truth.
Now attributed to Pergolesi on the basis of recent research, the ‘Seven Words of Christ’ has been regarded as ‘one of the most heartfelt works of art, full of profound tenderness and an all-conquering sense of beauty’ [Hermann Scherchen, on its discovery in 1930]. However, his judgment has remained unheeded and only the discovery of two more manuscripts in the abbeys of Kremsmünster and Aldersbach, by the musicologist Reinhard Fehling, prompted the firm of Breitkopf & Härtel to publish a critical edition…
Renowned for his work in Baroque vocal music, René Jacobs is most frequently credited as a countertenor and as a choral director. He is somewhat less familiar as a conductor of Classical symphonic music, though he has increasingly delved into this repertoire in recordings with one of Europe's best early music groups, the Freiburger Barockorchester. This 2007 release from Harmonia Mundi features Jacobs and the orchestra in bright and finely detailed performances of two of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's late symphonies, the Symphony No. 38 in D major, K. 504, "Prague," and the Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551, "Jupiter."
"It begins startlingly: brisk, staccato, pistol-shot chords, and the oboe is off at a fashionably rapid pace which is arrested at the orchestral statement ‘Cosi fan tutte’: and then the Presto, at a tempo that tests the agility of the woodwind (and does not find it wanting). This is not, in short, a conventional performance, either of the traditional or the ‘period-instrument’ type. Rene Jacobs tends to make the fast music faster than usual and the slow slower. Several numbers emerge with a real brilliance of sound and execution: the last of the three trios in the opening scene, for instance, the sextet, the men’s laughing trio, the stretto of the Act 1 finale, or the end of the ‘lesson-in-love’ quartet. In much of the slower music he is apt to luxuriate. The farewell quintet is a case in point, but it is agonizingly lovely; the heavenly trio that follows too is leisurely, with a cloudy, sensuous quality to the sound…"
The appetite for evolving performance practices in Bach’s St Matthew Passion appears undiminished as we have gradually shifted, over the generations, from larger to smaller ensembles and also towards a greater dramatic understanding of the implications of Bach’s ambitious ‘stereophonic’ double choir and orchestra choreography.
Originally released by Philips Classics on VHS and Laserdisc in 1991, the 13-part Mozart on Tour series chronicles the journeys of the child, adolescent and adult Mozart across Europe, in what was ultimately to prove a futile pursuit of fame and fortune.
Lucy Worsley traces the forgotten and fascinating story of the young Mozart's adventures in Georgian London. Arriving in 1764 as an eight-year-old boy, London held the promise of unrivalled musical opportunity. But in telling the telling the tale of Mozart's strange and unexpected encounters, Lucy reveals how life wasn't easy for the little boy in a big bustling city.
Tom Service plunges into the life and times of Mozart to try and rediscover the greatness and humanity of the living man in his moment. Mozart's prodigious output and untimely death have helped place him on a pedestal that can often blind us to the unique brilliance of his work in the context of his life and times.