'Forgive me if I lose my head'

Bach Club is proud to present fortepiano concertos by two good friends, Haydn & Mozart - two jewels of the classical repertoire:

Joseph Haydn – Keyboard concerto in D major, Hob. XVIII/11
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Concerto No. 9 in E flat major, K. 271 “Jenamy”

Haydn and Mozart enjoyed a friendship that crossed generations and was characterised by deep mutual respect and admiration. They probably first met in Vienna in 1783. Theirs was not a friendly mentor-pupil relationship between a self-assured and successful older composer and a somewhat erratic younger colleague. Mozart very much valued Haydn’s sincere friendship and advice and dedicated 6 of his string quartets to him. Haydn greatly admired Mozart’s genius and saw him as an equal if not more:

‘If I could only impress on the soul of every friend of music, and on high personages in particular, how inimitable are Mozart’s works, how profound, how musically intelligent, how extraordinarily sensitive! … It enrages me to think that this incomparable Mozart is not yet engaged in some imperial or royal court! Forgive me if I lose my head. But I love this man so dearly.’ (Haydn, 1787)

With these two piano concertos we dive into the sound world of the time, the Viennese classical period, supported by Pawel’s pianoforte, which is a copy of Walter & Sohn (ca. 1805), one of the most prolific piano makers in Vienna, and Mozart’s favourite. This performance is presented by the Bach Club Soloists, an ensemble made up of period instrument musicians that are well known for their knowledgeable and at the same time modern take on historically informed performances.

1779 signifies a massive change in Haydn’s employment. When his contract expired, a new one omitted some confining paragraphs which finally allowed Haydn personal control of future compositions, much more time to travel and therefore able to grow his international reputation and look after his relationships as well as – last but not least – embark on a major love affair.

Haydn's Keyboard Concerto No. 11 in D major was written at the beginning of this new period of his life, between 1780 and 1783.

Mozart’s keyboard concerto No 9 in E Flat major was written in 1777, when he was 21. He composed the work for Victoire Jenamy, a proficient pianist and the daughter of a friend of the composer, Jean-Georges Noverre, a French dancer and balletmaster.

Friendship and a generosity and liberty of spirit runs through this programme, to be found not only between these two great composers but also reflected in their concertos. We hope their story and their music might make you lose your head a little too.