Folle Journée de Nantes: Mozart in Paris and French vocal music

A short high-speed train trip to Nantes, pleasant blue skies to walk around the Château and Cathedral, and it was time for the 1st concert. Once inside the Cité des Congrès, passing through the Great Hall at lunch time, I spotted the Sirba Octet giving a free concert.

Violinist Régis Pasquier and pianist Jean-Claude Pennetier, long time musical partners, had chosen a Mozart program centered on compositions from his second Paris stay in 1778.

The musicians started with Sonata K 304, Mozart’s only work using the E minor key, a choice reflecting his mood, as his beloved mother, Anna Maria, who was travelling with him, got sick and died. This personal drama, as well as Mozart’s failure to get a job to escape from Salzburg, are also reflected in his most remarkable Piano Sonata No. 8 K 310 in A minor, which Pennetier had included in a solo fellow-concert in Nantes. K 304 is in 2 movements: a tragic and tense Allegro followed by a Minuetto, the music including tense moments but also more gentle or melancholic passages. A big thank you to the 2 musicians for selecting this haunting Sonata.

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