WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART: Overture to The Magic Flute
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART: Selections from Thamos, King of Egypt
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART: Masonic Funeral Music
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART: Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major
Artists & Insights
Louis Langrée, Music Director, Louise Dieterle Nippert & Louis Nippert Chair
Louis Langrée has been Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) since 2013 and Music Director of the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center since 2003.
Langrée, known for imaginative programs, began his CSO tenure with Jennifer Higdon’s On a Wire with Eighth Blackbird, Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait, narrated by Maya Angelou and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Two of his recordings with the CSO were Grammy-nominated in the Best Orchestral Performance category: Transatlantic, with works by Varèse, Gershwin, and Stravinsky; and Concertos for Orchestra, featuring world premieres by Sebastian Currier, Thierry Escaich, and Zhou Tian. His Pelléas et Mélisande trilogy contrasted settings by Fauré, Debussy, and Schoenberg. A multi-season Beethoven Revolution cycle paired the symphonies with world premieres and 20th-century masterworks, culminating with a recreation of the legendary 1808 Akademie.
A regular presence at Lincoln Center since his 1998 debut, Langrée has conducted around 250 concerts and productions, including more than 50 Metropolitan Opera performances; has taught Juilliard School masterclasses; appeared with the CSO as part of Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series; and made his New York Philharmonic guest conducting debut in March, 2020. Langrée has raised the artistic profile and repertoire of the Festival Orchestra well beyond the classical period, from Lully to Magnus Lindberg.
An advocate for the music of our time, Langrée has conducted premieres by Julia Adolphe, Daníel Bjarnason, Anna Clyne, Jonathan Bailey Holland, David Lang, Nico Muhly, André Previn, Caroline Shaw, and Julia Wolfe among numerous others including, with the CSO, the world premiere of Christopher Rouse’s Symphony No. 6, the composer’s final opus. Among the many period-instrument ensembles he has worked with are the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Freiburg Baroque, Concerto Köln, and Orchestre des Champs-Elysées.
Louis Langrée has guest conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre de Paris, and Leipzig Gewandhaus among others. In addition to the Met, he frequently conducts at the leading opera houses including the Vienna Staatsoper, Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Bavarian Staatsoper, and at festivals including Glyndebourne, Aix-en-Provence, BBC Proms, Edinburgh International, and the Hong Kong Arts Festival.
Langrée was previously music director of the Orchestre de Picardie, Opéra National de Lyon, Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, and chief conductor of the Camerata Salzburg. A native of Alsace, France, he is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.
from Music Director Louis Langrée
If we can find one silver lining of this pandemic, it may be that it has given us the opportunity to explore jewels of the repertoire we rarely have the opportunity to perform, and to reinvigorate the music of the Viennese Classical roots of the orchestral repertoire on the stage of Music Hall. The music of Mozart represents the zenith of this style and demonstrates his ability to place structure and meaning, articulation and phrasing, in perfect balance. Our mini Mozart festival encompasses four programs: the two we performed in March, and the two we present this weekend. Each of the four programs has explored a different aspect of Mozart’s writing and life, allowing us all to dive deeply into his musical language and his world.
New Crowned Hope: Mozart the Freemason
Rather than be beholden to a court, church, or other benefactor, Mozart was one of the first composers to opt for a “freelance” existence. This freedom lived in harmony with his dedication to the ideals of the Age of Enlightenment and of Freemasonry, and he was an active member of the Zur Wohltätigkeit (“Beneficence”) and then the Zur Neugekrönten Hoffnung (“New Crowned Hope”) lodges. The ideals of this era embraced the uplifting of humanity, and for Mozart, the elevation of humanity through art. Musicians and composers began to feel a responsibility to work toward a better world and used their music to express this world view. Mozart wrote Maurerische Trauermusik (“Masonic Funeral Music”) for the Masonic funeral service of two of his brethren, and along with the overture to Die Zauberflöte (“The Magic Flute”), he embedded multiple references to Freemason symbolism. Early in his life, Mozart was attracted to Freemason themes—at age 17, he composed the incidental music for the play Thamos: King of Egypt, writing music that would later inspire scenes for his operas. Finally, the Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, the first of his “holy trilogy” (his final three symphonies) is one of his most enigmatic and elevated works.
LOUIS LANGRÉE has been Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra since 2013. His two most recent CSO recordings, Transatlantic and Concertos for Orchestra, were Grammy-nominated for Best Orchestral Performance, and several of his other recordings have received awards, including Gramophone, Diapason d’Or and International Classical Music awards. He is also Music Director of the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, and is invited as a guest conductor by the most prestigious orchestras and opera houses, including the Berlin, Vienna, London, Tokyo and New York Philharmonic orchestras and the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, La Scala, Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Bavarian State Opera. Louis Langrée is a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur and Honorary Member of the Confrérie Saint-Étienne d’Alsace, an Alsatian wine-makers’ brotherhood dating back to the 14th century.
Meet the Orchestra
Learn more about the artists of the Orchestra.
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
Born: January 27, 1756, Salzburg, Austria
Died: December 5, 1791, Vienna
Overture to Die Zauberflöte
(“The Magic Flute”)
Composition History: Mozart composed his opera Die Zauberflöte (“The Magic Flute”), his first stage work for the commercial theater, in 1791; he completed it only two days before its premiere, on September 30, 1791 at the Theater auf der Wieden near Vienna. This was Mozart’s final opera, as he died two months after its premiere.
Instrumentation: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, strings
CSO Subscription Performances: The CSO has performed the overture to The Magic Flute on 18 previous subscription weekends as well as on U.S. and regional tours and Young People’s Concerts. The CSO subscription premiere took place in February 1906, Frank Van der Stucken conducting; the most recent subscription performance was in September 2002, Paavo Järvi conducting. The Orchestra has also performed the complete opera at these concerts, in September 1991 under Jesús López Cobos, and has paired with Cincinnati Opera for performances of The Magic Flute several times from 1932 (Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens) to 2017 (Aronoff Center for the Arts).
Selections from Thamos, King of Egypt
Composition History: Mozart wrote incidental music for only one play, on commission from Baron Tobias Philipp von Gebler for his five-act drama Thamos: King of Egypt. Mozart wrote only two choruses for the April 1774 premiere in Vienna, but added orchestral interludes for performances in Salzburg in January 1776. He revised the music again in 1779.
Instrumentation: 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, strings
CSO Subscription Performances: These performances are the CSO subscription premiere of selections from Thamos: King of Egypt. The Orchestra did play the two choruses from the work on the 1956 May Festival.
Masonic Funeral Music, K. 477
Composition History: Mozart composed the Masonic Funeral Music in November 1785, “on the death of [Masonic] brothers Mecklenburg and Esterházy,” according to Mozart’s handwritten inventory of his music. It was premiered at their combined memorial service at the Lodge of Sorrows on November 17, 1785. He changed the orchestration slightly for a concert version first performed in December 1785; the Orchestra will perform this final version at these concerts.
Instrumentation: 2 oboes, clarinet, contrabassoon, 2 horns, basset horn, strings
CSO Subscription Performances: The CSO has performed the Masonic Funeral Music on four previous subscription weekends, starting with December 1899, Frank Van der Stucken conducting. Sir Roger Norrington led the Orchestra in the most recent subscription performances, January 2009.
Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543
Composition History: Mozart composed the symphonies nos. 39, 40 and 41 during the summer of 1788, possibly with their publication as a trilogy in mind. The date of its premiere is unknown.
Instrumentation: flute, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, strings
CSO Subscription Performances: The CSO has performed the Symphony No. 39 on 16 previous subscription weekends, including the CSO premiere in December 1895, Frank Van der Stucken conducting (Pike Opera House). Paavo Järvi led the work most recently, in April 2008.