At a Glance
This evening's concert surveys a century and a half of Viennese music, with the first part focusing on works written for the opera house, concert hall, and church, and the second part on dance music and operetta. Throughout its history, Vienna has presented two faces to the world: sober and sensibly conservative on the one hand, fun-loving and heedless of the future on the other. This dichotomy is encapsulated in the lives and music of the composers who stand at the opposite ends of the program's chronological spectrum—Mozart and Korngold—both of whom were equally at home in the worlds of classical and popular music.
As the capital of the ethnically diverse Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Vienna of the 18th and 19th centuries was both a magnet for musical talent and a cultural melting pot; the Hungarian influence, in particular, can be heard in several pieces on this program. If Mozart's universal genius reflects the world-embracing confidence of Viennese culture at the height of the Habsburg dynasty, the atonal, aphoristic music of Webern seems an appropriate emblem for the dissolution of the old regime and its aristocratic values in the early 20th century. Much of this history overlaps with the history of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which traces its beginnings to 1842.