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The Vienna Philharmonic gave three concerts in the large festival hall in Salzburg as part of the 53rd Mozart week of the International Mozarteum Foundation. The first of these was conducted by Ingo Metzmacher and took place on January 27, 2008, Mozart's 252nd birthday. The first half of the program provided two contrasting works for piano, the concerto of Mozart in A-Major KV 488, and the "Réveil des oiseaux" by Olivier Messiaen (who was born 100 years ago, on December 10, 1908, in Avignon), both performed by Pierre-Laurent Aimard. After the intermission, the orchestra played Mozart's Symphony in E-flat Major, KV 543.
At the second concert on January 30th, Iván Fischer of Budapest made his Philharmonic debut with an Austro/Hungarian program. Following Mozart's Symphony in C-minor, KV 338, Vesselina Kasarova sang three of the Salzburg master's arias composed between 1771 and 1772: "Parto inerme, e non pavento", Giuditta's aria from the oratorio, "Betulia liberate", KV 118, (74c); Cecilio's aria from "Lucio Silla", KV 135; as well as "Ah di si nobil alma", Ascanio's aria from "Ascanio in Alba", KV 111. Béla Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, which was first premiered in 1944, concluded the evening.
On February 2, 2008, Sir Charles Mackerras conducted two major liturgical works – Mozart's "Vesperae solennes de Dominica", KV 321, composed most probably in 1779 for the cathedral in Salzburg, and Franz Schubert's Mass in E-flat Major, D 950, written in the fall of 1828, only a few weeks before his death. The vocal soloists were Miah Persson (Soprano), Anke Voldung (Alto), Werner Güra and Markus Schäfer (Tenor), Hanno Müller-Brachmann (Bass), and the Chorus of the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna, prepared by Johannes Prinz. Anton Holzapfel played the organ.