The history of music is full of unsolved mysteries and conspiratorial acts. A perfect example of this are the three pieces that feature in the programme conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk. There is a mystery associated with each of them.
The Sinfonia concertante in E flat major is a work for solo wind instruments (oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon) and orchestra. Although it is attributed to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, we don’t really know if it’s his. What is certain? During his stay in Paris in April 1778, Mozart wrote in a letter to his father that he had created a concert symphony, which was to be performed during one of the concerts of the Concert Spirituel series. The score was sent to the man responsible for organizing the event and was to be handed over to the copyist. At the last moment, for unknown reasons, the programme was changed: another work was performed, and the autograph of the concertante symphony was lost. The existence of a copy of the composition known to us today prepared by an anonymous copyist was announced in 1869, when one of the researchers of Mozart’s work claimed d that he was in possession of the manuscript. The version he found remains controversial to date, and some believe that it is by no means the work of Mozart. Regardless of this, the piece is very popular and is often included in concert programmes.
Equally mysterious is the story of Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 in B minor “Unfinished”. Only the first two movements of this work, the piano version of the third and its two orchestrated pages, have survived to our times. What do we know about the history of this composition? In 1823, Schubert received an honorary diploma from the Music Society in Graz. In gratitude, he presented this institution with an autograph of the Symphony in B minor. He passed it on to a friend and member of the Society, Anselm Hüttenbrenner. He kept the notes at home and only in 1865, i.e. thirty-seven years after the composer’s death, did he admit that he had them. The piece aroused great interest and immediately entered the canon of masterpieces of Romantic music.
The Siegfried Idyll by Richard Wagner was created in 1869 as a gift for the wife of the composer Cosima and their son, Siegfried. The first performance was private and took place in a villa in Lucerne on December 25. Early that morning, Wagner conducted an orchestra perched on the steps inside the house, and the gentle sounds of the piece woke the rest of the household. The preparations for the performance took place in the strictest secrecy, and the famous conductor Hans Richter, who then played the trumpet, recalled that for no one to hear him, he practiced his part during boat trips on Lake Lucerne.