Lena-Lisa Wüstendörfer, conductor
Viviane Chassot, accordion
Beethoven’s 8th Symphony and Haydn’s Concerto in D major, arranged for accordion, played by Viviane Chassot, come together with rediscoveries by the Classical Lucerne composers Joseph Stalder and Franz Xaver Schnyder von Wartensee.—
Joseph Franz Xaver Dominik Stalder (1725–1765):
Symphony in E-flat major
Joseph Haydn (1732–1809):
Piano Concerto in D major, Hob XVIII:11, arranged for accordion and orchestra
Franz Xaver Schnyder von Wartensee (1786–1868):
Overture in c minor
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827):
Symphony No. 8 in F major, op. 93
This concert opens with Joseph Stalder’s Symphony in E-flat major, a work situated in the transitional period between the late Baroque and the emerging Classical style. Its orchestration is unusual in that it is composed for strings with two horns that alternately provide for witty vivacity and a ceremonial touch. But it’s not just new discoveries such as Stalder’s symphony that can offer us out-of-the-ordinary listening experiences. We find the proof here in Haydn’s last piano concerto, which is presented in a version for accordion and orchestra. Our soloist Viviane Chassot was awarded the Swiss Music Prize 2021, and she here demonstrates impressively just how astonishingly colourful the accordion can be when taken out of the folk world where it has its home, and brought instead into a classical context. She also proves just how differently we hear Haydn’s sound world as a result.
The second part of our concert features an overture by Franz Xaver Schnyder von Wartensee, who like Stalder was also born in Lucerne. He wrote it in 1818 during his early years living in Frankfurt, and it veritably bubbles over with enthusiasm. It is a successful example of the Classical style that needs fear no comparison with Schnyder’s idol, Joseph Haydn. Schnyder von Wartensee came from a patrician family of Canton Lucerne. He is regarded as the most important Swiss composer in the transition from the Classical to the Romantic periods – and yet his works are hardly ever played today. He was an enterprising composer with a large international network who even got to know Beethoven during a year spent in Vienna from 1811 to 1812, just at the time when Beethoven was composing his 8th Symphony – the final work in today’s concert. Beethoven was preoccupied with contemporary political events as a result of Napoleon’s many years of European dominance and of the subsequent wars of liberation. Schnyder, however, had very different concerns. He lost all his possessions – including his instruments and his manuscripts – in a fire that broke out in Baden bei Wien in 1812, and he thereupon decided to return to Lucerne. What might have happened if Schnyder’s compositions hadn’t been destroyed in the fire, and he had remained in Vienna? Would he perhaps today be a well-known name among the illustrious composers of Viennese Classicism?
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