MYSLIVECEK KEYBOARD CONCERTO

Clare has discovered a keyboard concerto by Josef Myslivecek (1737-1781), a Czech composer who was a close friend and mentor of Mozart. Clare gave the first performance of the work in over 200 years in Kalisz in Poland in February 2016, before taking it to Jelenia Góra and Lublin. She will record both keyboard concertos by Myslivecek with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and conductor Nicholas McGegan for BIS Records in March 2018.

Known by many as ‘il divino Boemo’, Josef Myslivecek lived a life so scandalous that at times he shocked even Mozart himself. He enjoyed great success on the international stage, both as an operatic and a symphonic composer, and was well established in his career when he met the young Mozart in Bologna in 1770. Myslivecek helped Mozart to secure engagements and became a role model to him, both personally and musically. He is the most mentioned composer in the Mozart correspondence and the only one of whom Mozart spoke with affection and respect.

Myslivecek contracted syphilis later in life and lost his nose during the course of a botched operation intended to cure him. After deceiving Mozart’s father in a business transaction, Myslivecek and the Mozart family became estranged and Myslivecek ultimately died disfigured and in poverty.

The newly discovered keyboard concerto is in B flat major and lasts just over 12 minutes. It bubbles with energy and vitality and is a fascinating addition to the repertoire.

“I should advise my sister to play Myslivecek’s sonatas with plenty of expression, taste and fire, and to learn them by heart. For they are sonatas which are bound to please everyone, and very effective when played with proper precision.” (Mozart, in a letter to his father, 1777)

“There is no other composer in his entire life for whom Mozart expressed such affection and respect.” (Daniel Freeman, scholar and biographer of Myslivecek)

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