F. SCHUBERT: Overture in the Italian Style, D. 591
W.A. MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 21, KV 467
F. MENDELSSOHN: Symphony No. 4, op. 90 ‘Italian’
Javier Perianes, piano
Franz Schubert Filharmonia
Tomàs Grau, conductor
At age 21, Mendelssohn spent a season in Rome. Italy inspired him to compose, but as he himself said: “I have not found music in art itself, but in ruins, landscapes and the joy of nature.” The Italian Symphony had a successful premiere, largely due to the grace and beauty of the first movement, the sweet ballad of the second and the Neapolitan tarantella that closes the work.
Schubert, on the other hand, never travelled to Italy, but it was enough for him to stay in Vienna to capture the “Italian style”: firstly thanks to his teacher (Salieri) and later thanks to the fashionable operas (Rossini). This “Italian-style overture”, fresh, agile and direct, is ideal for understanding why Italian music was so influential in Europe.
Piano Concerto No. 21 ranks high on the list of works by Mozart. It was written in a few days and the same composer premiered it by playing part of it from memory since he had not had time to copy the score. The second movement is very famous and the French composer Olivier Messiaen considered it: “One of the most beautiful of Mozart’s melodies and perhaps even one of the most beautiful in all music.”