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Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat Major, K. 271, “Jeunehomme” 10/15/2019

October 15, 2019

I have been practicing and polishing Mozart’s concerto No. 9, which is one of the first master works by Mozart, for the opening concert of 2019-2020 3rd@1st concert series. I have been trying to play with perky and transparent sound, and with true finger legato. It is not easy. It requires a great care for balance between hands and sensitive finger tip touch. But how fun it is to play this master work! This concerto has an unique nickname “Jeunehomme” because it has been said to have been written for a somewhat mysterious French pianist, Mlle. Jeunehomme!! In a letter to his father after finishing the piece, Mozart referred to it as having been written for someone named “Jenomy” and his father referred to her as “Madame Genomai.” Early in the twentieth century, two French scholars—unable to find further information about her—decided that the name was Mozart’s misspelling of Jeunehomme and that she must have been a traveling virtuoso—yet one of whom no one had ever heard. This name was copied uncritically throughout most of the century. And after so many years, we were OK to call it without a true meaning! But in 2003 Michael Lorenz, a Viennese musicologist, discovered the answer to this unique mystery:

—-Mozart clearly met the pianist in question on Salzburg in 1777 when he wrote the Concerto for her. The following year, from Paris, he wrote to his father about meeting with the choreography Jean Georges Noverre, with whom he was planning a ballet, adding “Madame Jenomé is here as well.” The title “Madame” indicates that “Jenomé” is the lady’s married name (so she was not Mademoiselle Jeunehomme). She was in fact Noverre’s daughter, named Louise Victoire, a fine amateur pianist. In 1768 she married Joseph Jenamy, a wealthy merchant in Vienna. So instead of having found inspiration for his breakout work in the person of a completely unknown traveling virtuoso, Mozart found it within the family of a professional colleague with whom he proposed collaborating.—–

Now I don’t need to feel too bad about my imperfect English spellings and grammars!

This concerto offers a great range of emotions and technique. Certainly Louise Viotoire was a virtuoso pianist to handle all of difficulties! The second movement reminds me the concept of “word-painting”. In this movement Mozart shows his genius mind to portray emotions which relates to his opera composer life. The finale is a rondo movement, but not a usual one. It has a lengthy minuet and 3 cadenzas with some alternatives.

This concerto will be paired with Mozart’s Requiem, combining 4 choirs. Admission is always free at 3rd@1st concerts so that all may attend. The details will be found at www.thirdatfirst.org.