September 24, 2016 7:30 PM
Mozart: Don Giovanni Overture, KV527
David: Concertino for Trombone
Samantha Keehn, trombone
Marcia funebre (Andante)
Mahler: Adagietto from Symphony No 5
Shostakovich: Symphony No 5
in D minor, Op 47
Moderato - Allegro non troppo
Allegro non troppo
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Overture to Don Giovanni
At the time Mozart was composing his opera Don Giovanni, he was troubled by the approaching death of his father and, at the same time, he was negotiating with a theater in Prague to premiere his new opera buffa. He had yet to finish the opera based on the legend of the notorious libertine Don Juan. Having secured a play date for a Prague premiere, Mozart wrote Don Giovanni, with the exception of the overture, in a brief six-weeks period.
The Overture was written on the eve of the first performance. The story goes that Mozart was enjoying an evening out with friends and performers of the opera company in Prague, when one of the group reminded Mozart that he had yet to write an overture for Don Giovanni. Feigning nervousness, Mozart and his wife Constanze went to his room where he began composing the Overture around midnight. Although tired and somewhat "in his cups," the composer finished the piece in about three hours. Whenever he appeared to nod off, Constanze would bring him back to his duty by telling him fanciful stories.
The music was delivered to the copyists the next morning, but it was just minutes before the curtain was to rise on the first performance that the copied music, the ink still wet, was distributed to the musicians. With Mozart at the keyboard, the orchestra launched into the music with such brio and precision that the audience broke into applause just as Leporello began his solo. Mozart is said to have whispered to those musicians near him, "Some notes fell under the seats. But it went well."
The Overture to Don Giovanni began the trend of using actual themes from an opera as an introduction to the opera itself. It consists of an opening section which reproduces the scene of a banquet and is followed by an allegro which characterizes the impetuous, pleasure-seeking Don, oblivious to consequences. Since the Overture blends into the Leporello's first act solo, as a concert piece, the Overture has had various codas added at various times to provide a suitable conclusion.