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Salzburg Mozart Week 2024: Rolando Villazon starts a new cycle |  News and criticism |  BR Classic

Salzburg Mozart Week 2024: Rolando Villazon starts a new cycle | News and criticism | BR Classic

Salzburg Mozart Week 2024

Rolando Villazón starts a new cycle

January 22, 2024 By Bernhard Neuhof

“Pure Mozart” was the slogan of Mozart Week in Salzburg. Now there are also other composers on the programme. Particularly interesting for festival director Rolando Villazón: Mozart's “rival” Antonio Salieri.


Image source: Andreas Heschenberger

BR Classic: Mr. Villazon, there are many stories about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. There are plays, the opera “Mozart and Salieri” by Rimsky-Korsakov, and there is the famous film “Amadeus” by Miloš Forman. They all revolve around the fact that Salieri was jealous and killed Mozart. This is nonsense, of course. However, these stories do not leave us. Why?

Rolando Villazon: This story is very dramatic, like a crime thriller. It has interesting protagonists: two musicians, one a genius and the other just a good musician with power. He sees the talent and genius of another composer. He likes him but can't live with him. In Mozart Week we highlight all the legends that exist between Mozart and Salieri. Because now we start a new cycle. We had pure Mozart for five years. I would like to develop this concept further. We invited composers who shed light on the personality and biography of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. There are works by Mozart's contemporaries, namely his father Leopold Mozart, but also Joseph Haydn and Antonio Salieri. It's a perfect first year for our new cycle, as “Amadeus” turns 40 years old.

Salzburg Mozart Week 2024

Under the theme “Mozart and Salieri”, Mozart Week begins on January 24, 2024 in Salzburg. The works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart will take center stage, and they will be joined by other great composers such as Joseph Haydn and Antonio Salieri. An overview of all Mozart Week events You will find it here.

BR Classic: Good opportunity, for sure. Then you can finally find out who Salieri really is, right? He is a great composer beyond legend.

Rolando Villazon: We are interested in how important the relationship between Mozart and Salieri was. Of course we will also learn a lot about Salieri. He was a person with a lot of power. He was a good musician and a good teacher. We also have music by Salieri's famous students: Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert. All these composers give us the opportunity to discover more about Mozart. We listen to Salieri's music, which I discovered myself. I found the really nice things that we offer.

We use the word “genius” too easily these days.

Rolando Villazon

BR Classic: At first, you will be amazed by the high quality of Salieri's music. But when you hear Mozart, it's different again. What little bit of genius did Mozart have that Salieri did not?


Rolando Villazon |  Image source: Stephane Gallois/RolexRolando Villazon is the Artistic Director of Mozart Week in Salzburg. | Image source: Stephane Gallois/Rolex

Rolando Villazon: Antonio Salieri knew the rules well and had a great deal of creativity. It was very inspiring. He was in a position where he had to compose different pieces to specifically suit people's tastes. And it needed time. We know this because he refused to compose “La clemenza di Tito” on short notice. That's why Mozart was fortunately asked. There were a lot of great composers who knew the rules of music very well, had great creativity and good ideas. They had financial support and good musicians on their side. They were able to compose well with all of these elements. What Mozart also had was this “divine spark,” this inspiration and spirit. He also took the liberty of converting rules to other rules. He did not want to impose a new musical language, but simply saw the rules differently and played by the rules differently. Others couldn't do it this way. We use the word “genius” too easily these days. If someone is very good, he or she is instantly a “genius.” But there are very few true geniuses in literature, music or science. We can count them on one hand. Mozart was a very genius.

BR Classic: Then we hope you enjoy comparing Mozart with his contemporaries. Thank you for talking!

Rolando Villazon: Thank you very much!

Interview conducted by Bernhard Neuhof for BR-KLASSIK.

Broadcasting: “Allegro” on January 24, 2024 From 6:05 AM on BR-KLASSIK

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