On February 13 and 14, CPO Music Director Laureate Hans Graf returns to conduct the Orchestra’s Mozart and Schumann concerts, which showcase five Principal CPO soloists – Sara Hahn (Flute), Jean Landa (Oboe), Steve Amsel (Clarient), Christopher Sales (Bassoon), and Robert McCosh (French Horn).
Maestro Graf served as the CPO’s Music Director from 1995-2003, and lead the Orchestra on their tour of Europe in 2000. He reflects on the music you’ll hear in these concerts, what it’s like to return to Calgary, and his highlights from the past year.
When you lead the CPO on their tour of Europe in 2000, you featured Schumann’s 3rd Symphony. What does conducting this piece again with the CPO at the Mozart and Schumann concerts mean to you?
It is very interesting to come back after 15 years to Schumann’s 3rd Symphony which is a piece not so often performed – unjustly – and it will be interesting to see and feel where we all have gone in in the meanwhile our development – the Orchestra and myself. For us as well as for the Calgary audience it is a special remembrance and a rediscovery.
And this is like every time a very emotional return to my old home city and Orchestra.
What are some of your “highlights” from the past year?
After ending my tenure in Houston, my work remains about the same with the exception of some nice and interesting returns to my “other” home city and Orchestra, the CPO. I did return to the Salzburg Festival after more than a decade – and engaged in a new musical activity, with interesting aspects; the position of a Professor of Conducting at the University Mozarteum in Salzburg.
From your perspective as a conductor, what should people listen for in these concerts?
Chaminade Flute Concertino: This piece, written by composer Cécile Chaminade, has a fresh and natural charm and reflects the comforts of French bourgeois society. Listening to it is as if you’re on an island of quiet beauty in a difficult world.
Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, and Bassoon: Despite debate that this piece is not entirely “genuine,” it was obviously written by Mozart, but only in part. It is always fascinating to hear the greatness of the beginnings of the first and second movements – to guess where the (very good) “substitution” or “completion” starts. We are lucky to have the piece, because it is blessed by the spirit which reigns in the original parts. It is wonderful piece to highlight some of the stars of the wind section!
The whole first part of the program, Chaminade as well as Mozart, is a source joy and pleasure for the Orchestra’s soloists – and a source of pride for those in the audience who love their Orchestra and its musicians.