Manchester Camerata and Mozart at The Stoller Hall

Manchester Camerata and Mozart at The Stoller Hall


Posted 2022-09-27 by David Keyworthfollow

Fri 23 Sep 2022

From an online search I could find no evidence that Mozart ever visited Manchester. He certainly never performed at The Stoller Hall because it opened in 2017.

But Mozart's music has travelled to all corners of the globe. Manchester Camerata, in collaboration with Chetham's School of Music, have invited his spirit to their fiftieth birthday year celebrations. Perhaps the great composer arrived at the nearby Victoria Station.

After an illuminating and well-attended pre-concert talk by Professor Simon Keefe, the main action got underway. It comprised three opera overtures and the last two last piano concertos.

The evening started with Overture to Cosi Fan Tutte. There is an infectious nervous energy to this piece. The music fizzes with a sense of barely concealed excitement at what is to come.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the concert was the way that the Musical Director, Gábor Takács-Nagy talked to the near full capacity audience, between conducting the orchestra.

In his 'Hungarian-English' he compared the rousing crescendos of Mozart's music to 'champagne opening'.

Overture to La Clemenza di Tito came next. The opera coincided with the coronation of Emperor Leopold II in 1791. There was a compelling sense of urgency especially from the strings. There were also passages of delicate beauty but, for me, it was a little too grand at times. It was as if Mozart was restrained by a sense of regal duty.

A black piano, with Yamaha prominently displayed on the side, was carefully dragged onto the stage. It was closely followed by the pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.

Piano Concerto No.27 in B-flat major featured a beguiling interplay between orchestra and piano. It was like two birds mimicking each other and seeming to fly off in different directions before returning to circle each other again.

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. seemed to know the concerto so well that it seemed he was enjoying listening as well as playing. He rocked back on his piano stool to look over to the orchestra and at one point he raised his left hand to tell Gábor Takács-Nagy that he wasn't finished yet. There was obviously a great personal and musical rapport between the two men, who met in Manchester.

After the interval, the programme resumed with the Overture to The Magic Flute. Gábor Takács-Nagy told us that Mozart's membership of the Free Masons informed this opera. In particular, the three principles of brotherhood, loyalty and secrecy. The conductor speculated, not too seriously, that if Mozart was indeed poisoned before his untimely death, it may have been because he revealed too many masonic secrets.

Conspiracy theories aside, the overture was another one full of cacophonous splendour, agitation and crescendos. It left me wanting more, as it should.

Piano Concerto No.26 in D major was the final piece of the night. It again had complex passages which challenged the pianist's virtuosity, without sacrificing musical coherence.

I did not enjoy it as much as Piano Concerto No. 27 and my attention wandered slightly. But only slightly. It can't have been easy being Mozart - having to compete with Mozart.


Mozart Cosi Fan Tutte – Overture, K. 588
Mozart La Clemenza di Tito – Overture, K. 621
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat major, K. 595
Mozart The Magic Flute – Overture, K. 620
Mozart Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major (Coronation), K. 537

Performed by

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet Piano
Gábor Takács-Nagy Music Director
Manchester Camerata

Forthcoming Manchester Camerata concerts include:

Peter Hook & Manchester Camerata Present Joy Division Orchestrated at 02 Apollo, Manchester, 14 October and at London Palladium,15 October.

The People Make The Place

The performance will include music written and chosen by the people of Gorton, and the orchestra will also perform a new commission by Alex Ho. 17 November 2022.

Handel's Messiah by candlelight at the Great Nave of The Monastery Manchester. 4 December 2022 3pm.

RNCM Concert Hall

Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) students will perform side-by-side with Manchester Camerata in an evening marking their shared 50th anniversaries. It will include Beethoven, Elgar and new work by RNCM alumna Carmel Smickersgill. 9 December 2022.

See more at

Manchester Camerata's outreach work involves therapists providing musical sessions in care homes and education settings across the north-west and beyond.

!date 23/09/2022 -- 23/09/2022
71437 - 2023-01-26 01:53:41


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