It’s just plain fun to watch Ton Koopman conduct. That’s because for the renowned Baroque specialist, when he brings his beloved music of the 18th century to life, the signals are always emitted from his whole body. At the third Academy concert of the season, the scholars of the Philharmonic Orchestra Academy take on – together with the Dutch conductor, organist and harpsichordist – Johann Sebastian Bach’s Orchestral Suite BWV 1069, in which moments of the French music tradition are artfully combined with Italian models. When we look more closely, the fast, fugal part of the overture already reveals itself as a veritable concerto movement: Bach clearly shared the view of Dresden’s court music director, Johann David Heinichen, who promoted “a felicitous mélange of the Italian and French tastes” that would “affect the ear most forcefully”.
With Haydn’s Sinfonia concertante, his only contribution to the hybrid genre that melds concerto and symphony, the programme continues with a composition that provides four instrumental soloists with the opportunity to present their virtuosity. Haydn succeeded in the Finale in pulling off one of his innumerable strokes of genius, as, tongue in cheek, the music is structured in the style of an opera recitative in which the solo violin takes over the part of the capricious opera diva. Franz Schubert composed his Fifth Symphony, which concludes the concert, in the tradition of Haydn and Mozart: a work of graceful effortlessness and marked balance, in which cantabile melody and symphonic progression balance each other out.