Bach / Haydn / Mendelssohn, Ton Koopman
A concert of famous works by Bach, Haydn and Mendelssohn, guided by the steady hand of conductor Ton Koopman, is a true Baroque and Classical celebration. The Dutch maestro is one of the most respected experts on this musical period, both as orchestra leader and instrumentalist. Koopman’s performances on the harpsichord and the pipe organ are internationally renowned, and the experience of playing the music of many of Baroque’s great names himself informs the way he approaches his role as a conductor, too. At Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the programme features three big names: Johann Sebastian Bach, Joseph Haydn, and Felix Mendelssohn. Under Koopman’s baton, the Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice promises to deliver a special evening.
Bach’s Orchestral suite No 4 in D Major, BWV 1069, is the opening number. The piece, composed around 1730, consists of a French overture and three French Baroque dances, each featuring Bach’s trademark counterpoint and engaging basso continuo. The overture starts slow and in an even metre, only to switch to a fast 9/8 during the upbeat fugue section and then returns to its slow, imposing pace. The following bourrée starts out in D Major before quickly passing through the parallel key of B minor for an exciting harmonic shift. A stately Gavotte and an elegant Menuet complete the suite. Next comes Haydn with his Symphony No 83 in G minor, colloquially known as ‘La Poule’ or ‘The Hen’. It is one of the composer’s Paris symphonies, written in 1785. The nickname stems from a particular rhythmic figure, which dominates the first movement and alludes to the shaky gait of a domestic bird.
The evening’s final piece is Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 5 in D minor, also known as ‘The Reformation Symphony’. The composer began working on it in 1829, with the 300th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in mind, hence the piece’s popular name. Even though initial interest from performance halls and orchestras was sparse, the symphony quickly gained popularity and is regularly performed to this day. The three major works by Bach, Haydn, and Mendelssohn flow into one another under the masterful direction of Ton Koopman at Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice.