Death by Mozart: Violinist plays all five concertos in one concert

Sergey Stadler, artistic director of the Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg, performed and conducted the catalogue in Shostakovich Hall. Any rumbles in the background must have been Mozart turning in his (unknown) grave.

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  • Isn’t that a bit harsh? Assuming that Maestro Stadler did well in his performance, I should think that Mozart would have been utterly delighted!

    After all, it’s not quite the same as performing all the Beethoven piano sonatas in one sitting (as Michael Ponti might have done).

  • You’re right. This isn’t musicmaking, its turning Mozart into Muzak in the concert hall. A stunt for the Guiness Book like wolfing down the most hot dogs in a single setting.

  • Stadler is a world-class violinist. I’d love to see him play as much Mozart as he likes. Throw in the Sinfonia concertante as well!

  • I have a very exciting live recording of Stadler playing the Shostakovich 1st concerto, that I bought once in Russia. I never knew anything about him except that he was clearly a wonderful violinist. Good to see he’s still playing.

  • Better than playing all the Saint Saens Piano Concertos! There is a considerable difference between each of the Mozart fiddle concertos from the charm of the opening pair to the striking originality of the fifth concerto in which first entry of the violin in the opening movement – which is marked Allegro aperto but suddenly Adagio when the solo violin comes in, then the Allegro returns and the violin plays a melody whilst the orchestra repeats the music of the opening to the Turkish music in the finale. An astonishing work from an amazing group of concertos – I would happily hear all five in a concert. The astonishing thing is that anyone thought The Adélaïde Concerto was by Mozart!!!!!

  • Julian Jacobson performed all of the Beethoven piano sonatas in one memorable day last November at St Martin-in-the-Fields. From memory – except the Hammerklavier, wryly confessing beforehand that he would use the music. I heard them all, 0915 – 2215. A fantastic experience that deepened my respect and appreciation for this wonderful composer.

    Not the first time Julian has done this.

    • Yes, this must have been quite a feat, heroic in every way. But even the listener needs to bring heroic dimensions of concentration (and bladder control!) to enjoy it.

      With most things in life, there is a point of diminishing returns. I have too much respect for Beethoven’s music to subject it to that kind of marathon. Especially if the performer is top-notch, one stands only to gain by splitting the repertory up into manageable portions, e.g. five or six evenings of between one and 1-1/2 hours’ length. When it becomes a stunt, the music always suffers as a result — IMHO.

      Mozart, OTOH, wrote only five violin concerti. They fit nicely into one evening’s performance.

      • Well, there were 8 heroes that day then. Julian, six audience members who lasted the course with him, and Beethoven. It was no stunt, unless you think raising money for charity is a stunt. I know Julian too well to suspect any motive other than total dedication to the composer, and the two charitable causes. The music suffered not one little bit.

  • Yes, it’s quite harsh? Why the vehement disdain? I wouldn’t go, but I see no reason to assume Mr Stadler made Mozart roll in his grave.

  • I’m not sure I understand this either. The 5 pieces represent about two hours of music in total. Not that long really. They are warhorse pieces and so widely played. Those in the classical music industry might be tired of them and perhaps even by Mozart in general but for the rest of us it is just good music to be enjoyed. The only issue is if the performance or venue was otherwise flawed.

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