ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mozart always said he learned to write string quartets from Haydn.
The two composers formed a shared musical language and as well as friendship.
Santa Fe Pro Musica will perform some of the musical fruits of that relationship with “Mozart and Haydn” at the Lensic Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Nov. 2, and Sunday, Nov. 3.
Mozart considered Haydn his teacher. He learned organization and economy from Haydn’s compositions. Haydn wrote of the young composer, “scarcely any man can brook comparison with the great Mozart.”
“Haydn and Mozart revered each other,” Santa Fe Pro Musica music director Thomas O’Connor said. “They were very close friends. They played string quartets together. You can see influences of the younger Mozart influencing Haydn in his later symphonies.”
O’Connor will conduct the orchestra on Haydn’s Symphony No. 90 in C Major. The composer penned it in 1788 as part of a three-symphony commission by Count d’Ogny for the Concert de la Loge Olympique.
By the time Haydn wrote No. 90, “he is a complete master,” O’Connor said. “He’s starting to try to simplify things and make them more transparent.
“It’s a deceptive simplicity,” O’Connor continued. “He does very sophisticated things in a very simple way. The tunes have a child-like quality to them.”
Pianist Anne-Marie McDermott will perform and conduct Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-Flat Major, K. 449 and his Piano Concerto No. 22 in E-Flat Major, K. 482. McDermott is the artistic director of the Vail Valley Music Festival in Colorado.
“She’s also a phenomenal player,” O’Connor said. “Her playing is very fluid and expressive. She’s a chamber music player at heart.”
Completed in 1784, No. 14 is an earlier work.
“In the earlier concertos, the orchestral role is more supportive,” O’Connor said. “In 22, he’s moving beyond that.”
Written in 1785, No. 22 features Mozart’s first use of clarinets in the scoring.
“It’s a phenomenal piece,” O’Connor said. “It’s the sophistication of the writing. He places a lot of the main melodic material around the winds. It’s getting around the idea of the orchestra as accompaniment. It’s kind of a richer palette.”
McDermott will lead the orchestra from the piano, O’Connor said.
“The tail of the piano will be toward the orchestra,” he explained. “She’ll be conducting and playing the solo part. That’s what Mozart would have done.”