The urbane Ottoman Empire inspired a fad for Turquerie that coloured art, fashion, pastries (croissants) and, of course, music. Beethoven’s overture to a play about the fall of Athens to the Ottomans opens a concert about Europe’s fascination with the great power to the east.
The Turkish twist in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.5 comes in the last movement, a hint of tongue-in-cheek exotica. The rest of the concerto sees Concertmaster Andrew Haveron spinning some of Mozart’s most operatic melodies, demonstrating why this is a beloved mainstay of the repertoire.
Although beginning with pastoral innocence, the second movement of Haydn’s ‘Military’ symphony erupts with Turkish cymbals and drums, a galvanising gesture in a time of war and revolutionary fervour. It was an unusually political statement for Haydn to make for his London audiences, but they loved this expansive and energetic symphony.
Details are correct at time of publication