WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART: Symphony No. 25 in G Minor
WOFLGANG AMADEUS MOZART: Bassoon Concerto in B-flat Major
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART: Symphony No. 40 in G Minor
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.
Portal to Romanticism: Sturm und Drang and Beyond
During the second half of the 18th century, uncertainly, anxiety and darkness loomed on the horizon, and the political atmosphere in central Europe was in turmoil. The philosophers and writers of that time questioned the power of courts and religion. This societal and artistic turmoil led to Sturm und Drang (“storm and stress”), a movement in art, literature and music that is characterized by darkness, high drama and emotion. The societal anxiety of this period manifests itself within the first G minor symphony of Mozart, the Symphony No. 25, and links it to the iconic pre-Romantic Symphony No. 40, also in G minor. In these symphonies, you will hear jagged melodies, strong syncopation, overwhelming outbursts, and a deeply personal style of composition. Mozart wrote his Bassoon Concerto just after completing his Symphony No. 25 and we are delighted that our Principal Bassoon, Christopher Sales, will join us as soloist.
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.
Christopher Sales, Principal Bassoon, Emalee Schavel Chair
Christopher Sales joined the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as Principal Bassoonist in 2018 and sits in the Emalee Schavel endowed chair. He has also held Principal Bassoon positions with the Calgary Philharmonic, Charleston Symphony, Norrkӧping Symphony and Jacksonville Symphony orchestras, and he is an adjunct faculty bassoon instructor at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).
Described as “fleet-fingered and nimble” by the Calgary Herald, Sales has showcased his virtuosity in concerto performances with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Jacksonville and Charleston symphony orchestras, and the Aspen and Eastern music festivals.
Sales spent many summers attending the Aspen Music Festival, and has also worked for the Bellingham, Sarasota, Lucerne, Interlochen and Spoleto festivals. He has also served as Principal Bassoon Faculty for the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina.
He has performed numerous solo and chamber music recitals at such institutions as the Juilliard School, CCM, Florida State University, the Instrumental Society of Calgary, Piccolo Spoleto Music Festival and the University of Calgary, among others.
Chris Sales studied with William Winstead, the former Principal Bassoonist of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, as well as Martin James at CCM, and with Whitney Crockett at the Juilliard School. Other major teachers include Per Hannevold, Nancy Goeres and Russell Hinkle.
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
Symphony No. 25 in G Minor, K. 183
Composition History: Mozart composed the Symphony No. 25 in 1773, the first of only two of his symphonies written in the key of G minor (the other is the Symphony No. 40, which will also be heard on this program). The work, in which Mozart employs the Sturm und Drang (“storm and stress”) style, was first performed on October 5, 1773 in Salzburg.
Instrumentation: 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, strings
CSO Subscription Performances: The CSO has performed the Symphony No. 25 on five previous subscription weekends, starting with February 1942 under Sir John Barbirolli. Itzhak Perlman led the Orchestra in its most recent performance, for a special September 2011 concert for which he was also violin soloist.
Concerto in B-flat Major for Bassoon and Orchestra, K. 191
Composition History: Mozart wrote this earliest of his concertos for wind instrument, the B-flat Major Bassoon Concerto, in June 1774, just after his third visit to Vienna. Its premiere date is unknown.
Instrumentation: solo bassoon, 2 oboes, 2 horns, strings
CSO Subscription Performances: The CSO has performed the Bassoon Concerto on three previous subscription weekends, starting with February 1968 under Max Rudolf with Otto Eifert, CSO Principal Bassoon from the 1961–62 through 1986–87 seasons, and, most recently, in September 2006 with Paavo Järvi and William Winstead, who retired in 2018 after 32 years as Principal Bassoon. Winstead also was soloist for the work in January 1991 under Jesús López Cobos.
Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550
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. He entered the Symphony No. 40 into his catalog on July 25, 1788, but the date of its premiere is unknown.
Instrumentation: flute, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, strings
CSO Subscription Performances: The CSO has performed the Symphony No. 40 on 19 previous subscription weekends, starting with the Orchestra’s inaugural concert in January 1895, Frank Van der Stucken conducting (Pike Opera House). Louis Langrée led the most recent subscription performance, in March 2017 at the Taft Theatre.