Japanese naturalised-British classical pianist Mitsuko Uchida and the Austrian chamber orchestra based in Salzburg, the Camerata Salzburg perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466 with Ludwig van Beethoven’s cadenza. Conductor: Mitsuko Uchida. Recorded in March 2001 in Salzburg.
The concerto was written in 1785, and the first performance took place at the Mehlgrube Casino in Vienna on February 11, 1785, with the composer as the soloist. The cadenza for the first movement was composed by Beethoven. Mozart left no extant cadenzas, which was a typical practice for the day. Beethoven, in around 1803 decided to compose a cadenza for this remarkable work. It suits the work very well.
The concerto is scored for solo piano, flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani and strings. As is typical with concertos, it is in three movements:
- Allegro (in D minor)
- Romanze (in B-flat major)
- Allegro assai (in D minor, ending in D major)
Mitsuko Uchida was born in 1948 in Atami, a seaside town close to Tokyo, Japan. She has appeared with most of the world’s foremost orchestras, recorded a wide repertory with major labels, won numerous awards and honours (including Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2009), and serves as co-director of the Marlboro Music School and Festival. In recent years, she has also conducted major orchestras.
The Camerata Salzburg is an Austrian chamber orchestra based in Salzburg, Austria. The Camerata’s principal concert venue is the Mozarteum University.
Camerata Salzburg was founded in 1952 by teachers and students of the Salzburg Mozarteum. The ensemble was able to quickly establish itself, with its Mozart Matinees soon becoming the cynosure of the Salzburg Festival. The founding father of the Camerata was conductor, music pedagogue, and musicologist Bernhard Paumgartner who had also been co-founder of the Salzburg Festival, and later went on to be its president. When founding the Camerata, Paumgartner sought out to preserve as well as to revive the ethos of classical and classicistic music.
The name of the orchestra – originally Camerata Academica of the Mozarteum Salzburg – was chosen to pay homage to the historical Camerata Fiorentina of the Renaissance. Then, as now, the focus of the musicians was to independently make music with a sense of community. The Camerata Salzburg concentrates on the traditional chamber orchestra repertoire. The musicians play both under conductors, under the direction of soloists, and concertmasters alike, also performing in smaller chamber music formations. Naturally, the works of the Salzburg-born musical prodigy Mozart, as well as the music of Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert were instantly the core of the Camerata’s repertoire. Within the setting of their Mozart Matinees at the Salzburg Festival, the Camerata played many symphonic works and gave numerous concert performances of Mozart’s operas, thereby shaping the unique “Salzburg Mozart sound”, a sound, which is as recognizable as it is ever evolving.
Since 1956, when the first Mozart Week was held in Salzburg, the Camerata has also focused within this festival on the repertoire of the First Viennese School. From the very beginning, the orchestra has included opera in its repertoire.
The further development of the orchestra after the Paumgartner era was entrusted to the artistic director Antonio Janigro, under whom in 1974 the first subscription concert series of the Camerata took place. One of the soloists of that period was violinist Sándor Végh, who took over the artistic leadership of the ensemble in 1978 parallel to his duties as a pedagogue at the Salzburg Mozarteum. He successfully integrated excellent young musicians into the Camerata. Végh realized the idea of performing string quartets in larger settings, which encouraged each musician to individually develop whilst simultaneously benefiting the collective.
Under Végh the ensemble expanded its chamber orchestra repertoire to the Romantic era (e.g. Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Brahms, Dvorák, Tchaikovsky) and to 20th-century classical music (e.g. Bartók, Strawinsky, and Schönberg). Furthermore, the Camerata has initiated its own Festival “Begegnung” (“The Encounter”) and since 1987 has been programming its own concert series at the Konzerthaus in Vienna.
Starting in 1993, the Camerata has once again performed operas at the Salzburg Festival (“Lucio Silla”, “La clemenza di Tito”, “Le nozze di Figaro”, and “The Rake’s Progress”, amongst others).
On the occasion of the Mozart Week in 1997 Sir Roger Norrington joined the Camerata for the production of Mozart’s “Mitridate, Re di Ponto”, replacing the late Sándor Végh as principle conductor. As a result of this collaboration Sir Roger Norrington was appointed as chief conductor and held this position from 1998 until 2006. During this tenureship he enriched the characteristic style of the ensemble with his experience in historically accurate performance practice. In recognition of their achievements, the Salzburg Festival granted the Camerata and Norrington their own concert series. In 2007 Norrington’s assistant director, violinist Leonidas Kavakos, took over the artistic direction of the orchestra until 2011, when Louis Langrée was appointed principle conductor. Langrée’s musical leadership and choice of repertoire show great congruency with the Camerata’s inclinations, without lacking refreshing inspiration. Thus, even in its seventh decade, the Camerata displays a “contagious musical enthusiasm” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung).