Two years ago we started the summer open-air concerts in the courtyard of the Rákóczi Castle in Szerencs, with the intention of creating a tradition. This year, the concert will be conducted by Budafok Dohnányi Orchestra’s principal guest conductor, the Austrian Guido Mancusi, who has compiled a programme of Viennese Classicism and early Romanticism.
The first piece is the Symphony No. 60, also known as “Il Distratto” (“The Absent-Minded Gentleman”). Haydn’s 100 or so symphonies show a great variety of forms, but No. 60 in C major, with its six movements, its many special structures and many musical quotations, is quite exceptional even within this vast repertoire. Although the work became widely known as a symphony in Haydn’s time, it was originally written as incidental music for the German translation of Jean-François Regnard’s stage play Le distrait (Der Zerstreute). The Italian term “Il Distratto” often appears on contemporary manuscript copies of the work, so it is clear that the composer was recycling the incidental music he had written for the play in the form of a symphony. (Source: Magyar Zene /Hungarian Music/, Balázs Mikusi: Haydn Il Distratto kísérőzenéje és a “színházi szimfónia” esztétikája /Haydn’s Il Distratto incidental music and the aesthetics of the “theatrical symphony”/ – Study)
Following this, a piano concerto will be performed, the soloist of which is Fülöp Ránki, who, despite his young age, is a renowned and popular Hungarian composer. Son of the renowned pianist couple Edit Klukon and Dezső Ránki, he has been performing from a very young age and is now a teacher at the Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest.
The work in question was written by Beethoven between 1796-1797 and premièred in Prague in 1798; the piano solo was of course played by the composer himself. He dedicated the concerto to his patron, the Princess Odescalchi-Keglevich. Although the piece has become known as his first piano concerto, it is in fact the composer’s third work in that genre. A few years earlier, in Bonn, Beethoven had already tried his hand at it, but only the piano solo (Piano Concerto No. 0) of this never published concerto in E flat major survives. However, the Piano Concerto in B-flat major No. 2, listed under Op. 19, was, by Beethoven’s own statement, written between 1794-95, so chronologically speaking it was his first piano concerto. (Text based on wikiwand.com article.)
After the intermission, the last piece to be performed is by Schubert: his Symphony No. 6. Its public première – since his ‘great’ Symphony in C major proved too difficult to perform – took place a month after the composer’s death at a concert of the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna in December 1828.
In this work of Schubert’s there is less influence by Mozart and Beethoven to be detected: it follows the style of the Rossini overtures that were fashionable at the time. The ‘little’ Symphony in C major is an easily liveable piece: Italianate verve, joyful spirit and light-hearted playfulness prevail in it. At times, however, it nonetheless anticipates some of the intrepid Schubertian tone that characterises so many later compositions, including the ‘great’ Symphony in C major. (Source: Marianne Pándi: Hangversenykalauz /Concert Guide/)