« Previous | Main | Next »

The Genius of Mozart - Guide to the highlights

Post categories:

Graeme Kay Graeme Kay | 15:02 UK Time, Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Salzburg - the city of Mozart's birth

Salzburg - the city of Mozart's birth

Radio 3's The Genius of Mozart begins on January 1 - twelve days of Mozart's music and complementary speech programming. If you're wondering how the season will be structured, here's a preview of some of the detailed programming in my own personal collection of highlights. Full details appear on the Radio 3 daily schedule pages. Programme details are, of course, subject to change.

DAY 1: Petroc Trelawny raises the curtain on Radio 3's 12-day celebration, The Genius of Mozart. Today's highlights include the popular Piano Concerto No.21 ('Elvira Madigan') and the exuberant soprano solo work, Exsultate Jubilate, in a live concert from King's Place. You can also hear Mozart's 'Prague' Symphony, then stop off at Petroc's Cafe Mozart (live from Vienna), before settling in to a complete performance of the opera Don Giovanni (premiered in Prague), finishing off the day with a performance of Mozart's 'Musical Joke' (The Genius of Mozart, 915pm).

DAY 2 is 'Wunderkind Day', celebrating Mozart's precocious genius as a composer and performer. His not-even-teenage opera, La Finta Semplice, (written at the age of 12) is perfomed Through the Night, and a highlight of Breakfast with Martin Handley will be a performance of the the beautiful and haunting Clarinet Concerto; speech highlights today include an interview with actor Simon Callow in Sunday Morning, Part 1 of A History of Mozart in a Dozen Objects, and a Drama on 3 performance of Peter Schaffer's play Amadeus, about the composer's fraught relationship with court composer Antonio Salieri - was there really a murder plot?

DAY 3: Meet the Mozarts Day features music associated with the Mozart family and its social circle. Highlights include piano trios live from Wigmore Hall at lunchtime, and the Clarinet Quintet and Concerto for two pianos with former Radio 3 New Generation Artists in Afternoon on 3; nightowls will welcome the first in a series of 'Play Mozart for Me', Sara Mohr-Pietsch's late evening selections, beginning at 10pm.   

DAY 4: Grand Tour Day explores Mozart's ten years on the road, performing and composing for cities all across Europe. The day begins early with one of Mozart's opere serie - Mitridate, re di Ponto, in Through the Night; a live lunchtime piano event comes from Studio 7 in Manchester, with a sonata and the Concerto in G; another early opera, Lucio Silla, can be heard in Afternon on 3 and the authentic performance specialist conductor Roger Norrington is Sean Rafferty's guest in In Tune.

DAY 5: Mozart and his sister Nannerl were virtuoso pianists: Piano Day celebrates the breadth and depth of Mozart's piano writing with performances and live studio guests from the cream of the world's pianists, including Steven Osborne, performing the Piano Concerto No.13 live from Studio 7 in Manchester; a packed Afternoon on 3 features performances by Shai Wosner, Jean-Philippe Collard, and Leon McCawley who is live in the studio, appearing again later on In Tune with Mitsuko Uchida. Choral Evensong from Eton College Chapel includes Mozart's Solemn Vespers.

DAY 6: Salzburg Day celebrates Mozart's work in his home town, and explores the mutual disillusion leading to his departure for Vienna. Classical Collection features the Mass in C minor, written in thanksgiving for the recovery from illness of Mozart's wife Constanze, and premiered in Salzburg; former New Generation Artist Ronald van Spaendonck performs the Clarinet Concerto, live form Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff; Sean Rafferty's guests on In Tune are the baritone Thomas Allen and scholar, keyboard player and conductor Ton Koopman; and eminent Mozartian Sir Colin Davis conducts the Aurora Orchestra in some soprano arias, the Violin Concerto No 5 and the Symphony No 36, 'Linz'.



Vienna's Cafe Mozart

Vienna's Cafe Mozart

DAY 7: Escape from Salzburg/Turkish Night marks Mozart's falling out with his patron Archbishop Colloredo, and his head-on encounter with Orientalism, on reaching Vienna. Highlights include the 'Dissonance' String Quartet in Classical Collection; Shai Wosner performs the Piano Concerto No 22, recorded live at Manchester's Studio 7 (Lunchtime Concert), while Afternoon on 3 presents a wealth of Mozart's chamber music. And the Oriental theme emerges strongly in the evening, with a complete performance of the comic opera, The Abduction from the Seraglio

 DAY 8: Opera Day focusses on Mozart's ground-breaking operas, beginning in Through the Nght with Thanos, Konig in Agypten; a morning highlight is Kiri Te Kanawa's favouite Mozart arias, and in the afternoon, Dame Kiri returns as a studio guest, with Thomas Allen, for Colin Davis's Royal Opera recording of Cosi fan Tutte. And in Mozart and Metastasio, the Early Music Show's Lucie Skeaping explores the impact of the librettist's impact on 18th century opera, and on Mozart, for whom he provided three opera texts. The evening highlight is complete performances of the great operas, Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) and Idomeneo.

DAY 9: Vienna Day explores the different kinds of music Mozart composed when, between 1784 and 1786, he was the darling of Vienna society. The Lunchtime Concert features tenor arias sung by Ben Johnson, and the Early Music Show looks at Mozart's interest in Baroque music, and the transcriptions he made from what he heard and read in old scores. Discovering Music focusses on the popular serenade, Eine kleine Nachtmusik; the performance, specially recorded and filmed at Clandon House, is also available on the website as a video. 'Herr Mozart presents ...' includes the Symphony No 31 'Paris' and the Piano Concerto in C, K415.

DAY 10: Mozart the Mason looks at the influence of Viennese Freemasonry on the composer's music. In Classical Collection, James Jolly introduces the formal elegance of the serenade, 'Gran Partita', followed by Donald Macleod who explores Mozart's Masonic Funeral Music in his 11-part Composer series on Mozart. Louise Fryer's Afternoon on 3 guests are conductor Philippe Herreweghe and harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, and opera director David McVicar joins Petroc Trelawny for the evening performance of Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute).

DAY 11: Accurate biographical details of Mozart's life dried up for the period 1788-1790: 'Last Travels' explores these years. Conductor Jeffrey Tate is James Jolly's guest in Classical Collection at 10am, and you won't want to miss the BBC Concert Orchestra's live recording of the Piano Concerto in D minor, K466 with John Lill (piano), conduced by Barry Wordsworth, in the Lunchtime concert slot. In Afternoon on 3 you can hear BBC recordings of the 'Prussian' Quartet and the Quintet in D, K593. In Tune with Sean Rafferty at 5 includes live performances of a Mozart Trio and Duo; Performance on 3 includes the 'Coronation' Piano Concerto, K537, and the Symphony No.41, 'Jupiter'

DAY 12: 1791 is the year of Mozart's death - he was at the height of his powers. The BBC Singers offer a mouthwatering selection of choral works, live from St Paul's Knightsbridge, at lunchtime. Maxim Vengerov and Lawrence Power are the superb soloists in the Sinfonia Concertante (Afternoon on 3), while the first of two performances of the Requiem comes from New College, Oxford at 4pm in the Choral Evensong slot. The second is in Performance on 3 at 7pm.


  • Comment number 1.

    In the 50 some years that I have been listening to classical music I have avoided contracting "Mozart Madness". The "wall to wall every note he ever wrote" planned to start the New Year really is more than overkill: it is insulting to those listeners who are not besotted with this particular composer, or any composer. The BBC should remember the wise words of W S Gilbert about the need for variety and stopp these excessive adulations of any one composer. I fear that for ten days I will be tuning out of Radio 3 almost entirely.

  • Comment number 2.

    How fabulous! Wall to wall Mozart... Heaven! Cannot wait!
    On another note.... SHAME on BBC for closing the Radio 3 Messageboards! Pathetic reply about cuts etc, YET the Archers Messageboards are to be retained! What is Roger Wright doing about this scandal?

  • Comment number 3.

    I notice that in the Radio Times listings, Radio 3 listeners are requested on weeknights to phone in with 'dedications' to accompany their favourite piece of Mozart - time, I think, to tune out until sanity and regular programming return...

  • Comment number 4.

    This will mean no more Mozart for the rest of the year then?


  • Comment number 5.

    We hear a lot about Mozart's temperament and about his music but we don't often hear his music in the right temperament. Perhaps this will be an opportunity to improve?

  • Comment number 6.

    Well done to the BBC! You have just lost another listener. It's bad enough having this music shoved at us at present but 12 days of solid Mozart is just too much. There are hundreds - no thousands - of works that the BBC is ignoring which need an airing. Instead we get wall to wall Mozart. Surely your remit is to broadcast a variety of classical music on Radio 3 and not only Mozart. The BBC has done more damage to the appreciation of music than almost any other radio station in the world and this action proves it will continue to do so, I have no objection to some Mozart being on the radio within reason but this is just ridiculous.

  • Comment number 7.

    These "wall-to-wall" things are a crackpot idea that I hoped Radio 3 would ditch after they were first trialled two or three years ago.

    You are alienating listeners like me who dislike Mozart, but even the most ardent Mozart fan must think it's unfair?? I would be horrified if you tried to play wall-to-wall Sibelius, Debussy or anyone else whose music I like.

    Why not spread Mozart's complete works out over a whole year instead?? You did this in about 1996 with Vaughan Williams and Holst.

  • Comment number 8.

    Bravo BBC Radio 3!! This is a fantastic bold initiative. I really enjoyed the previous Beethoven and Bach seasons, and am looking forward to the Mozart one. I am not a huge admirer of Mozart myself, but I would hope BBC R3 would also feature other composers wall-to-wall every year? Or perhaps a group under a common theme? E.g., why not a week of music by living British composers?

  • Comment number 9.

    I am sorry to read such negative comments about the Mozart season. Radio 3 are using this idea very successfully as a means of maintaining an interest in classical music amongst the next generation of musicians. In December I was privileged to attend a workshop of 6th form musicians who had written their own very impressive compostions based on Mozart's work. The day was also an opportunity for the very talented young musicians to work with professionals from the BBC Philharmonic; a great experience for them.

    The final performance was recorded, and is due to be included in the Mozart season. I am sure there are many who will be as impressed as I was with the results of this workshop, made possible by the idea of the 'wall to wall Mozart' fortnight.

    Thanks Radio 3 for being bold enough to reach out to and include a wider audience. Could anyone let us know the time when the workshop will be broadcast? Its not clear in the daily schedule. Thank you!

  • Comment number 10.

    Another reason to find alternative listening this year.

  • Comment number 11.

    I am 48 years old and have been a fan of BBC Radio 3 for over 25 years. I was into the Punk/New Wave scene before I was struck by the genius of Mozart's music. Fortunately I had a partner who's record collection differed greatly from my own in that she had mostly Baroque, Classical and Romantasism. Alligned with her influence I listened avidly to Radio 3 and learned so much over the years. On my first visit to New York I made a point of visiting Carnegie Hall, a place that I would not have wondered of had it not been for those famous regular weekly exchanges between the BBC and their American collegues.

    So it is this that I say to all those that doubt the programming on Radio 3. Music is yours, but also it belongs to others. And particularly those others that will benefit from such a thorough investigation into one of human histories greatest Artists. I understand the frustration of those who will (or may) be sick of Mozart after this, (and I number myself amoungst them) but let us all remember that at one time it was us that knew nothing. The BBC is doing something that should be done.

  • Comment number 12.

    Looking forward to the WAMfest...there's something special about a 100% blitz of his music.....and, rather like a good cricket match in the sun you can drop-off, take a break, then wake up and carry on enjoying the music. No particular agenda, it's all good. And when it's over there still will remain the wonderful Radio 3.

  • Comment number 13.

    Mozart , a name which always not ring a bell make the world sing . How nice of BBC to start a 12 days of christmas after christmas .

  • Comment number 14.

    Excruciating, when I want to listen to Mozart, and there are times I do, I will listen to Mozart, when I don't, I won't. I, too think the birthday extravaganzas are unnecessary and boring,and I don't doubt a bit that one of your programmers will realize that Mozart's 255th birthday is also on 27 January 2011 and decide it only fitting that you play Mozart until the end of January, or wait, in February he will be 256 and one month, now there's even more to celebrate. Anyway, glad that there are lots of radio/internet stations to choose from, and I unchoose you for the next month or so, maybe after that, too. And how about Composer of the Week about composers less than 300 years old, too. Maybe what would be best is new programmers? Jim

  • Comment number 15.

    Well, I for one can easily stand a few "excruciating" days opportunity to hear again the wonderful genius of Mozart, and I look forward to hearing those pieces of his music that I haven't yet heard. Of those who have threatened to stop listening to Radio Three on account of this, I wonder where exactly they intend to go. Classic FM perhaps, where they can be sure of hearing the same selected, over glossed, highly fashionable bits of Mozart over and over again ad infinitum? Good look finding any station more adventurous than Radio Three!

  • Comment number 16.

    I am sure the Mozart Fest is well intended, and there are some arguments in its favour. Clearly, having the whole of Mozart's work provides a particular kind of view, and one which it would be difficult to get otherwise. But on the whole I do feel that the wisdom of imposing such an experience on Radio 3 listeners, without any consultation (that I am aware of), is doubtful. I love Mozart, but I do feel that the wall-to-wall experience is un-Mozartian in the sense of lacking proportion and balance. I agree with the person who said that Mozart's entire oeuvre could have been spread over a longer period - perhaps a year, or perhaps a few months. I will be dipping into Radio 3 over the next week or so, but I'm likely to listen to it far less than I usually do. I speak as someone who has been Radio 3 listener since about the age of 8 - at 45, it remains my default radio setting. It is a marvellous station all round, but I'm a bit disappointed by this heavy-handed programming.

  • Comment number 17.

    @ jackdaws, #15

    The truthful answer is that I've gone to the World Service.

    The slightly facetious, but still fairly true, answer would be that even on Radio 1 if there's a particular "artist" you don't like [which is just about all of them], at least it'll be over in three minutes rather than twelve days.

  • Comment number 18.

    conme on guys, give Mozart, and the 12 day initiative a chance...it's only just started and I for one am finding it compulsive listening, and have been since lunchtime yesterday. Cafe Mozart yesterday afternoon from Vienna was a great listen, if for no other reason than to hear H.K trying not to say nice things about Mozart, and failing! Trelorny was at the top of his form too...well done Petroc, much the best presentation of the NY concert for some time I thought. Anmyway backl to the Mozartfest, and it reslly is. Listening now to Rob Cowan's particuslrt take on some special recordings...brave, and excellent broadvcatsing. Incidentally Rob if you read this, the Menuhins playing the adagio from the Violin sonata, brought tears to my eyes that did...Well done all, and now back to, um, Mozart.

  • Comment number 19.

    I agree with those posting above who object to the saturation of 12 days of R3 programming with Mozart. The beauty of Radio 3 is the variety of music available, including the jazz and world output which has been shoved aside for two successive weeks. Breakfast and In Tune ease my journey to and from work - the combination of a variety of different music, entertaining and interesting guests and informed presenters is a joy. I guess I will have to listen to CDs for the next 12 days. I have nothing against Mozart, and indeed enjoy listening to his music from time to time, but not solidly for 12 days - this is just lazy programming by the BBC!

  • Comment number 20.

    Looking at it objectively, I suppose that the idea was to encourage lots of new people to a) listen to Radio 3, and b) start to discover the joys of classical music. On January 13th, I don't doubt, there will be many more people listening to classical music than there were on December 31st. Nothing could be more in line with Radio 3's remit, and what better way to do it than a Mozartfest?

  • Comment number 21.

    Hi! my name is Silvia and I am a HUGE fan of the Genius of Mozart initiative!
    Unfortunately, it is impossible for me to listen to all of it... and I am trying to find a way to download and save it..or to purchase it. Any suggestions?
    Thank you!

  • Comment number 22.

    As an alternative to slitting my wrists and taking a bath with a toaster, I am very happy to report that I finally found the "off" switch. I am all in favour of celebrating a composer in an appropriate, respectful and balanced manner, but to be drowned in syrup of one flavour is not a nice way to go. At the very least, would it not be appropriate to set this music in the context of some of Mozart's contemporaries? The rot has been spreading through R3 over the last decade or so and this is the final straw. Would the last listener please turn out the lights?

  • Comment number 23.

    My take on 'The Twelve Days of Mozart':

    On the first day of Mozart,
    my true love sent to me
    A grand opera set in Italy.

    On the second day of Mozart,
    my true love sent to me
    Two minor thirds,
    And a grand opera set in Italy.

    On the third day of Mozart,
    my true love sent to me
    Three French horns,
    And a grand opera set in Italy.

    On the fourth day of Mozart,
    my true love sent to me
    Four string quartets,
    And a grand opera set in Italy.

    On the fifth day of Mozart,
    my true love sent to me
    Five minuets,
    And a grand opera set in Italy.

    On the sixth day of Mozart,
    my true love sent to me
    Six trios playing,
    And a grand opera set in Italy.

    On the seventh day of Mozart,
    my true love sent to me
    Seven tenors trilling,
    And a grand opera set in Italy.

    On the eighth day of Mozart,
    my true love sent to me
    Eight sops a-shrilling,
    And a grand opera set in Italy.

    On the ninth day of Mozart,
    my true love sent to me
    Nine woodwind blowing,
    And a grand opera set in Italy.

    On the tenth day of Mozart,
    my true love sent to me
    Ten fiddlers bowing,
    And a grand opera set in Italy.

    On the eleventh day of Mozart,
    my true love sent to me
    Eleven harpists twanging,
    And a grand opera set in Italy.

    On the twelfth day of Mozart,
    my true love sent to me
    Twelve maestros prancing,
    And endless repeats on Radio 3.

    © David Braund 2011

  • Comment number 24.

    but the point is,and I am listening to the lot ( well I haven't yet managed to listen again to the overnight stuff, but I will)but sverything else I am...it isn't one flavour all the time; it is astonishing what variety there is in Mozart, and it is really being done craftily and creatively, by interspersing the letters and discussions with real experts, Jane Glover, Nick Kenyon last night, Simon Callow yesterday morning, Marriner tonight etc etc that makes it even more worthwhile. I am enthralled by it all. And the variety is also included, importantly, in the juxtaposition of what HK Gruber called brilliantly ' vegetarian orchestras'( not to my taste in Mozart) with real modern orchestras and ensembles playing Mozart. One of the striking examples of this was In Tune playing one of the violin sonatas , one of the most besatiful, in what can only be described to my ears as vegetarian ensemble playing with later the same sonata played with modern instruments. Wonderful how it sounded on the modern instruments, anfd the penache and verve...I find this kind of thing/comparison fascinating.
    My only complaint is the dreadfully intrusive thing they are playing at regular intervals telling us we are listening to the genius of Mozart. Get rid of it,guys, lose it, it might have seemed A Good Idea, but trust me, gutys, it isn't. Lose it. Now. Trust me, the guy you are using on this is so out of kilter that it ruins the whole continuity and feeling...drop that and the rest is a masterful brilliantly thought through ( so far anyway) series. it is the only spoiler.

  • Comment number 25.

    Couldn't agree more with wilf. That intrusion is a an advertising jingle, like on Classic FM(!) and quite out of keeping with the spirit of the whole wonderful enterprise. If there's a policy to remind listeners that this is "The Genius of Mozart" then the current presenter could chip in with this, not a false-sounding person with totally unwelcome jingle in the background, even if it is by Mozart. It comes just as the previous performance is settling in my mind. The jingle blows it to pieces. Wall-to-wall Mozart gives deeper insights into a multi-faceted genius and has drawn my attention to so much staggering music that I'd been unaware of. I hadn't appreciated the just crazily superb quality of some of the music written when he was about 10 years old, for instance.


More from this blog...


These are some of the popular topics this blog covers.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.