Berlin Phil oboist unearths forgotten works by Mozart contemporaries

Posted on: March 19, 2015

On Saturday’s (3/15) NPR “All Things Considered” broadcast, Arun Rath asks, “Does the name Jan Antonín Koželuh mean anything to you? It doesn’t register even to most classical music geeks. But Albrecht Mayer would like to change that. Mayer, the Berlin Philharmonic’s principal oboist, chose a concerto by Koželuh and works by three other forgotten 18th-century composers for the new album Lost and Found. Mayer solos in the concertos and conducts the Kammerakademie Potsdam. How did he discover these neglected composers? Online, of course. At least that’s where his research began…. One of the libraries Mayer visited was in the Polish city of Wrocław.” Though he didn’t turn up any Mozart works, Mayer found “concertos by contemporaries of Mozart. Like Ludwig Lebrun … the Bohemian Joseph Fiala [and] Franz Anton Hoffmeister. So if their music is so good, why did these composers, regarded in their time, fall into the cracks of music history while others went on to immortal fame? ‘Life isn’t fair,’ Mayer says. And sometimes you need a little intervention. ‘Without the Miloš Forman movie Amadeus,’ Mayer says, ‘nobody would be talking about Antonio Salieri nowadays. I’m sure that Koželuh and Fiala are much better composers than Salieri.’ ”

Posted March 19, 2015