The distance between Vienna and Brussels in the 18th century was not as great as you might think. The Habsburgs were firmly in control, with the emperor in Vienna and his brother installed as governor in Brussels. The court composer Pieter Van Maldere, one of the most famous composers of his age, belonged to the shared court of the two cities. Van Maldere travelled to Vienna and was staying at Schönbrunn castle when the young Mozart came to visit. When Mozart visited Brussels shortly afterwards, Van Maldere came to hear the young Austrian play.
Symphony no. 40 represented a new way of thinking for both Mozart and Van Maldere. The confrontation between the two composers and their works represents a generation gap: Van Maldere’s 40th symphony resounds with an elegance and refinement particular to the galant style, whereas Mozart’s 40th is a milestone in Viennese Classicism. However, this gap is bridged effortlessly in this concert by Joseph Haydn, who greatly admired both composers. His piano concerto sounds like a reconciliation of the two styles. The soloist in Haydn’s concerto is Aurelia Visovan, who won the International Musica Antiqua Competition for the fortepiano in Bruges in 2019 with a convincing performance.
P. Van Maldere: Symphony no. 40 in E Flat Major, WVR80 | J. Haydn: Piano Concerto no. 11 in D Major, Hob. XVIII/11 | W.A. Mozart: Symphony no. 40 in G Minor, K. 550
Aurelia Visovan, fortepiano | Vlad Weverbergh, artistic director