I woke up early this Sunday morning for a concert of the Orchestral Society of the Association of the Friends of Music in Vienna, the amateur house orchestra of the Musikverein. I used to attend their concerts periodically, but do not seem to have been in Vienna recently when they were playing, until this morning. This was probably the best I have heard them sound. Robert Zelzer, their music director, conducted, 25 years to the day after he made his debut with this orchestra.
It is fair to say I am sick of Mozart, who is over-performed (and even more so in Salzburg, where I have been based for almost five years). That said, Mozart is pleasant to wake up to on a Sunday morning, and I also suppose I don’t mind hearing a work I did not previously know. This morning’s offering was his Sinfonia Concertante for Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, and Orchestra. Mozart wrote this in Paris for four touring musicians he knew from Mannheim (the clarinet part was originally for flute), but they ended up not playing it and the piece languished in an archive until being discovered 200 years later. Typically Mozartian, the music danced playfully for thirty minutes. The team of soloists (Adelheid Bosch, oboe; Christoph Zimper, clarinet; Peter Dorfmayr, horn; and Max Feyertag, bassoon) handled the tricky phrases effortlessly, while Zelzer and the orchestra provided a strong continuo. A good start to the day.
Zelzer’s reading of Bruckner‘s Ninth Symphony was in general a pretty standard interpretation, which is fine (especially with an amateur orchestra which has not – by my listening in previous years – managed to have the fullness of sound for Bruckner. But today they did. This was a sorrowful reading of Bruckner’s final, unfinished, work… but just as we felt the sadness, along came a bit of the Mozartian cheer in the final movement, where the orchestra almost began to dance again. Well done.