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Orchestra Wellington's Jupiter and Bruckner's apocalyptic eighth

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Orchestra Wellington is thinking big for the latest concert in its Epic 2019 series.

Music director, Marc Taddei, will lead the orchestra in a symphonic double bill on May 25th that includes Mozart’s mighty Jupiter symphony, and Bruckner’s apocalyptic eighth.

Mozart polished off the Jupiter, his last symphony, to help pay off some monumental debt. Bruckner’s 8th, is his attempt to encompass God and the battle between good and evil.

Jupiter is the ultimate expression of Mozart’s genius, while in his mighty eighth, Bruckner stretches symphonic form to its very limit.

It’s not clear whether Mozart ever heard his final symphony performed, but when it was premiered it quickly made a big impression. The nickname "Jupiter" appears to have come from a critic bowled over by the powerful chords that open the work.

Bruckner’s road to recognition was far more tortuous. The success of his previous symphony, gave him the confidence to go where no composer had gone before, but the first version of his eighth had even his supporters baffled.

When the conductor Hermann Levi told Bruckner he couldn’t make sense of the music, the composer almost had a nervous breakdown. It took him another three years to revise the score, and another two years before its first triumphant performance.

"Bruckner’s work is one of the greatest pinnacles of Romanticism," Marc Taddei said.

"It is a masterpiece of epic proportion that speaks to the concept of profundity in music."

Mozart polished off the Jupiter in a matter of weeks, probably for a subscription concert to help raise some much needed cash, but there are no signs of financial stress in the music.

The Eighth cemented Bruckner’s position as one of the great symphonists in the German tradition, but the music is as rich and romantic as anything Tchaikovsky might have written, especially in the beautiful and heartfelt slow movement.

Orchestra Wellington’s Jupiter is at the Michael Fowler Centre on Saturday May 25th at 7.30pm.

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