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Dallas Symphony Orchestra Daniil Trifonov, piano
Orchestral Series
Wednesday, June 26, 2024 at 6pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

Called “the most outstanding pianist of our age” by The Times of London, pianist Daniil Trifonov joins the Orchestra in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9, in a program that includes Mahler’s profound Symphony No. 5, led by Music Director Fabio Luisi.

Did you know?

The Adagietto of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony set the mood in Luchino Visconti’s film Death in Venice and was played at funerals or memorial services for many great figures of music and politics, including Serge Koussevitzky, Robert Kennedy, and Leonard Bernstein.

Featured Artists

Fabio Luisi


Daniil Trifonov


Program Highlights

  • Fabio Luisi, conductor 
  • Daniil Trifonov, piano 

MOZART Piano Concerto No. 9 

MAHLER Symphony No. 5 

PRE-CONCERT TALK 5:10PM - Johanna Frymoyer (Notre Dame), speaker in the Gerald R Ford Amphitheater Lobby.

Program Notes

Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat major, K.271, Jenamy (1777)

(31 minutes)


Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat major,
K. 271, Jenamy (1777)
     Rondo: Presto

When Wolfgang Amadè Mozart wrote his Piano Concerto in E-flat major (K. 271), in January 1777, he was just turning 21. It opens with a surprise. In Mozart’s time, concertos invariably began with a stretch of material (usually including at least a couple of discrete themes) presented by the orchestra before the soloist first appeared. Here, however, the piano shares in the opening phrase of the work, providing a response to the orchestra’s introductory fanfare. The composer has put the listener on notice that this concerto will be no simple back-and-forth alternation between orchestra and soloist, but rather a work in which the protagonists interweave with some complexity. The slow movement is also a breakthrough—a melancholy exercise in the hyper-emotive Sturmund Drang esthetic then popular. The opening theme incorporates a falling figure—at least a sigh, perhaps a sob—and the piano sometimes declaims. In the finale, Mozart again experiments with structure; in the midst of a highly energized rondo, he interpolates a leisurely, expressive minuet with four elegantly turned variations.

This may have been the first of Mozart’s piano concertos to be published, if it was the concerto advertised in an early catalog of the Parisian publishing house of François-Joseph Heina. Fortunately, Mozart provided two separate sets of written-out cadenzas for this concerto: two alternative versions for the first movement, two for the second. For the third movement he also offered three alternative suggestions each for two brief “lead-ins,” short improvisatory flourishes to introduce musical sections—far shorter than a full-fledged cadenza yet substantial enough to display creativity from extemporizing soloists.

This concerto became widely known by the nickname Jeunehomme. That name dates from 1912, when two French scholars posited the existence of a Mademoiselle Jeunehomme who they imagined to be an obscure French pianist who visited Salzburg in the winter of 1776-77 and commissioned Mozart to write this concerto. Mozart did write a letter to his father in which he referred to a woman surnamed “Jenomy” in connection with this concerto, and his father referred to the same as “Madame genomai.” About twenty years ago, documents were unearthed in Vienna identifying that person as Louise Victoire Jenamy (1749-1812). An excellent pianist, she was a daughter of the dancer and balletmaster Jean-Georges Noverre, who was a friend of the Mozarts. There is no good reason to persist in calling this piece the Jeunehomme Concerto, and there is abundant reason not to. If we felt the need to attach a nickname to it, we would do better to call it the Jenamy Concerto rather than the entirely specious Jeunehomme.


(18 minutes)

Symphony No. 5 (1901-02)

(72 minutes)

GUSTAV MAHLER (1860-1911)

Symphony No. 5
     Part I Funeral March: With measured
                  step. Strict. Like a cortège
              Stormily. With greatest
     Part II Scherzo: Vigorously not too fast
     Part III Adagietto: Very slow
                Rondo-Finale: Allegro giocoso.

Throughout his career Gustav Mahler balanced the competing demands of his dual vocation as a composer and conductor. He largely relegated his composing to summer months, which he typically spent as a near-hermit in some pastoral spot in the Austrian countryside. His getaway while writing his Fifth Symphony was Maiernigg, a speck on the map on the south shore of the Wörthersee in the southern Austrian region of Carinthia. He completed construction of his villa there while this work progressed during the summers of 1901 and 1902.

What Mahler achieved during those two summers marked his return to the purely instrumental symphony. His First Symphony had been strictly orchestral, but the three that followed it all used singers, whether as soloists or in chorus (or both). But if Mahler’s Fifth Symphony is not unusually radical in its forces, extensive though they be, his use of those forces is profoundly imaginative, and its structure is curious indeed. It unrolls over five movements (rather than the classic four of most symphonies), and they are grouped into three over-riding sections: the first and third sections both comprise two movements, while the Scherzo stands in the middle as a section unto itself. From its opening trumpet fanfare through to its majestic conclusion an hour and a quarter later (and a semitone higher, since the underlying tonality moves from C-sharp into D), Mahler’s Fifth Symphony traces a vast panorama of human emotions.

The Adagietto is the most famous movement from any Mahler symphony. The conductor Willem Mengelberg claimed that it was an encoded love-letter from Gustav to his wife, Alma—a fact he insisted both parties had confirmed to him. Scored for only strings and harp, it stands apart in its basic sound; and its character—pensive, soulful, nostalgic, more resigned than mournful—renders it unique and memorable.

Notwithstanding its great popularity, the Adagietto represents only a fraction of the emotional spectrum of this symphony. Bruno Walter, Mahler’s assistant in both Hamburg (1894-96) and Vienna (beginning in 1901), witnessed the creation of the Fifth Symphony. He characterized it thus: “A work of strength and sound self-reliance, its face turned squarely towards life, and its basic mood one of optimism. A mighty funeral march, followed by a violently agitated first movement, a scherzo of considerable dimensions, an adagietto, and a rondo-fugue, form the movements.” In 1911, Mahler remarked that his Fifth Symphony had come to represent “the sum of all the suffering I have been compelled to endure at the hands of life.” For us, too, it may convey suffering, but also joy, hope, and a hundred other aspects of the human condition.