Friday, January 28, 2011

Leaving Home

Imagine you have spent half your life on the road, traveling in primitive conditions but celebrated by royalty.  Everyone's favourite child prodigy.  Performing on demand to enhance the ruler's reputation, to please your father.  Then, growing to maturity, it is time to please yourself for a change.

Tom Allan painted a picture of the young Amadeus at the TSO "After Work" series.  In his early twenties Mozart was likely entering a stage of rebellion.  "Leaving home", ending his years as a servant and entering a period of freelancing and freedom.  According to Allan, Mozart was literally kicked in the butt by the Prince of Saltzburg who fired him uncerimoniously. 

This concert was part of the Mozart @ 255 festival.  In honour of his 250th birthday,  we listened to two different pieces that were composed by the genius:  Symphony 34 in C major and Piano Concerto No. 9.

Jeunehomme was written when he was just 21, and still a servant in Saltzburg.  Mozart had already composed a solid body of work by this time, but in this concerto he challenged the musical conventions of his time.  The piano interrupts the orchestra in the beginning, stops dead in a later movement, becomes entirely unpredictable.

The piece was reportedly written for a Frenchwoman, a traveling pianist.  I wonder if there was a romance between the two?  It would take at least a week for an accomplished musician to learn to play, especially since it went against established form.  It would have taken quite a bit of musical direction to make sure it was played just right.  And there is such a range of emotion, such personality and yearning.

Jenome, sometimes spelled Genomai or Jenomy certainly inspired him.  Yet there is no evidence such a person actually existed.  It does make for juicy gossip, though, doesn't it?

Some call this his first real masterpiece, his musical coming of age:

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