Davidde Penitente

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

8th October 2015 · 8:00 pm
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Davidde Penitente

Jessica Pratt, soprano
Manuela Custer, mezzosoprano
Antonino Siragusa, tenor

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Symphony 31, “Paris”

Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana
Fabio Biondi, conductor

An original work by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte, the cantata with religious roots entitled Davidde Penitente, KV 469, is not structured around a plot that has been proposed and developed throughout the ten pieces of music, but has been inspired by texts taken from the biblical Book of Samuel, written in verse of varying metre and rhyme. In this way, Da Ponte avoids a literal reproduction of the Old Testament texts, which nevertheless he selects and successfully takes out of context in order to create an abstract dialogue between the superior entity and the rational being, in other words between God and a contrite David. For this, he chooses to use the lyrical language (Italian) instead of the language of religion (Latin), creating for Mozart a wide range of emotions and passions, moments of tranquillity and turmoil, all perfectly connected with the pre-revolutionary and pre-romantic spirit, whilst apparently not renouncing any of the characteristics of the late baroque period.

Davidde Penitente reflects the complicated spiritual time that man was experiencing in 1785, a few years before the French Revolution in 1789. That of a human being split between the Ancien Régime and the rationalism of the Age of Enlightenment, who witnesses a new dialogue between a god and man, in which even the divine object is questioned in favour of human reason. Symbolically perhaps, most of the music of Davidde Penitente is derived from the unfinished Great Mass in C minor, KV 427.