Ian Page and The Mozartists continue their ground-breaking Mozart 250 project – a 27-year mission
to explore the music written by Mozart and his contemporaries exactly 250 years ago, year by year –
with two concerts at Cadogan Hall this winter which focus on music from 1772, the year Mozart
On 27th January, Mozart’s 266th birthday, The Mozartists will perform work by the young Mozart and
his contemporaries Jommelli, Traetta, J.C. Bach, Gassmann and Haydn, at Cadogan Hall. They are
joined by two dazzling sopranos, both company Associate Artists: Jessica Cale, who won the
prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Award in 2020, and Chiara Skerath, who made her London debut with
The Mozartists and has since debuted at the Salzburg Festival and Paris Opera.
This concert will also be a rare chance to hear the music of Tommaso Traetta, an Italian of the
Neapolitan School, whose work has been generally neglected since the 18th century. After securing a
job at the court of Catherine the Great in St Petersburg, Traetta composed Antigona, which was
amongst his most forward looking operas, approaching the progressive ideals of his contemporaries
such as Gluck. The January concert will include an aria from this opera.
1772 was also the year in which the first Society of Musicians (Tonkünstler-Societät) concert in
Vienna took place. This Society had been founded the previous year to support retired musicians and
their families, and it continued until the mid-20th century. The first work performed by the Society
was Florian Gassmann’s oratorio La Betulia liberata, an aria from which will be performed in The
Mozartists’ January concert.
For the second concert on 15th March, Page and The Mozartists will focus exclusively on Haydn. After
a pre-concert talk by Richard Wigmore, they will perform his 47th, 46th and 45th symphonies, written
in 1772 during the Sturm und Drang period. This era in German literature and music was
characterised by subjectivity and emotional extremes, as opposed to the formal artistic codes that
had hitherto prevailed in the 18th century.
Haydn’s Symphony No. 47, with its rousing opening horn-calls, was particularly admired by Mozart,
who subsequently conducted the work in Vienna in the 1780s, and its palindromic minuet and trio –
marked to be played firstly as written and then completely backwards – is an outrageous feat of
musical engineering. Symphony No. 46, meanwhile, is in the distant key of B major, and is full of
quirky invention and ‘Sturm und Drang’ turbulence. The concert culminates with the superb
‘Farewell’ Symphony, its thrillingly iconoclastic opening movement and infinitely soulful adagio
leading to the celebrated coup de théâtre of its ending. The story of this ending is a famous one. In
the summer of 1772, Prince Esterházy had kept his court musicians away from their families for too
long. They appealed to their Kapellmeister, Haydn, for help, and he memorably incorporated his
entreaty into the final movement of this symphony. The ruse was clearly successful, for the court
returned home the day after the performance.
Ian Page comments: “Our first two concerts of 2022 both explore the music being written and
performed 250 years ago in 1772. Mozart’s own musical voice – as expressed in his Symphony No. 15
and the first of his rarely performed Epistle Sonatas – was rapidly approaching maturity, and the
music of his contemporaries included some outstanding works. These include rarely performed
operas by Jommelli and Traetta, arias from which will be featured in our January concert, but
nowhere is this more apparent than in the astonishing triptych of symphonies that Haydn wrote in
1772, Nos. 45-47, which we will present in our March concert. It is always an exciting privilege to be
able to bring such works to life, especially with such outstanding collaborators, and I am greatly
looking forward to these concerts. I suspect that Haydn’s ‘Farewell’ Symphony, with its unique
combination of wit and pathos, will be particularly moving in the context of events over the past two
“It is hard to think of a more valuable or ambitious long term musical project than Ian Page and
Classical Opera’s MOZART 250.”
EARLY MUSIC REVIEW
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