At the dawn of our century, the conductor Steven Fox made a sensational discovery in the Vatican archives of a hitherto unknown Symphony in C Major by the “Ukrainian Mozart”, Maxim Berezovsky. This work, full of rococo charm, probably dates from his time as a student under the famous Padre Martini in Bologna (where Berezovsky may also have met young Wolfgang Amadeus, who happened to be a pupil of the great teacher at that same time).
We know that Mozart was a concert pianist and violinist, but he also played, albeit rather sporadically, the viola, as he did, for example, in 1784 when he performed in a quartet with Haydn, Dittersdorf and Vanhal. Little is known about the circumstances surrounding the composition of Sinfonia Concertante KV 364, most probably penned for the Salzburg court, but it seems quite possible that in this graceful piece Mozart may also have played the viola part (tuned half a tone higher to achieve an even brighter sound) alongside the violinist Antonio Brunetti.
Marius Petipa, one of France’s greatest dancers and choreographers, spent as many as six decades (1818–1910) in Petersburg where he led the imperial court ballet, later known as the Mariinsky Theatre Ballet. At that time, the Russian scene was more inclined towards a cosmopolitan repertoire. Over time, however, native composers also gained recognition, Pyotr Tchaikovsky in particular. Additionally, Alexander Glazunov collaborated with the theatre and its chief choreographer, which resulted in two original ballets – Raymonda and The Seasons. The premieres of both were attended by the imperial family and each was a great success. Drawing inspiration from various sources and handling the orchestra in a masterful fashion, Glazunov developed his own, highly expressive style, dazzling the listener with its formal perfection as well as deep lyricism and beautiful melodies. This allegoric Divertissement in one act sparkles with a multitude of colours and moods that change like a kaleidoscope; at the same time the composer avoided self-imposing onomatopoeias and Tonmalerei, thanks to which he created an autonomous work, which can also be successfully performed in a concert version.