Pachelbel, Mozart & Vivaldi
In the heart of Golden Prague, a very special concert is taking place: Pachelbel, Mozart, Vivaldi brings together three masters of melody, counterpoint and musical invention. Set in the splendid St George Basilica in the gorgeous Prague Castle complex, the event is a celebration of three signature works: Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D’, Mozart’s ‘Divertimento in D Dur’, and Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons’. In the capable hands of an ensemble of musicians from the Prague Royal Orchestra, the three pieces come to life in the Czech capital.
The concert begins with the famous ‘Canon in D’ by German Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel. In spite of the piece’s everlasting popularity and appeal, little is known about its origins. It was likely composed towards the end of the 17th century when its infectious melody and characteristic chord progression first bedazzled audiences. Pachelbel was known for his organ and chamber compositions, and the Canon exhibits his keen sense for counterpoint. Notice how the violins form a true canon while the basso continuo follows its own path!
Next comes ‘Divertimento in D Dur’ by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It is part of a cycle of works commonly known as the composer’s Salzburg Symphonies, which he composed at the age of 16. Inspired by several visits to Italy, the Austrian wunderkind was eager to try his hand at the genre of concerto grosso which was popular there at the time. Mozart injected his characteristic energy and virtuosity in all three movements of the Divertimento, once more showcasing his ability to craft simple yet brilliant melodies that push generic boundaries.
The concert closes with the fantastic violin concertos ‘The Four Seasons’ by Antonio Vivaldi, a four-part cycle that came to define Italian Baroque. The composer wrote them in the early 18th century while contemplating the countryside around Mantua, where he was based at the time. To this day ‘The Four Seasons’ remain a pinnacle of musical invention and narration, with Vivaldi using the Baroque orchestra full sonic potential to recreate the sounds of bubbling creeks, chirping birds, thundering storms and booming fires.