Tag Archives: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The Show Must Go On

Last weekend for the first time since moving to Ohio, I had the pleasure of seeing a performance  by the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra. Originally on the program were a handful of pieces ranging from Mozart to Mendelssohn: Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in G Minor, K. 183; Klein’s Partita for Strings; Mysliveček’s Octet (parthia) for Winds No. 3 in B-flat Major and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor featuring ProMusica’s Creative Guest Partner and Principal Artist, Vadim Gluzman.

I heard Mr. Gluzman perform a violin concerto by Alban Berg last May with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.  He’s incredibly good and has an album of Partitas out that I especially enjoy.  You should check it out!

Unfortunately, because of a sudden family emergency, Mr. Gluzman had to fly back home to Israel at the last minute. That was announced last Tuesday.  The concerts were scheduled for Saturday and Sunday!  Fortunately, Mr. Gluzman’s good friend and amazing violinist, Mr. Philippe Quint (American violinist, Russian by birth) was able to stand in.  Plus, Maestro Danzmayr was able to change his schedule around to conduct the ensemble as Mr. Gluzman was  originally going to be on the podium as well.

The show must go on, right?

Finally!

Mr. Quint arrived in Columbus on Friday and performed on Saturday and Sunday. Fortunately, Mendelssohn’s violin is standard repertoire for him and he already had it memorized because he only had about one rehearsal with the orchestra prior to performing it for us.

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Violinist Philippe Quint

Wow.  He was so good and while I only have my CD recording for comparison, he definitely topped that!  The recording I have is of the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Maestro Leonard Bernstein with Pinchas Zuckerman on the violin.  I couldn’t help but grin during the cadenza in the middle of the first movement.  I didn’t know fingers could move that fast.  He really did an excellent job playing that for us.

After listening to Mendelssohn’s violin concerto a million times in my car or on headphones, I finally got to hear it live!  Oh wow – it was so beautiful and apparently the rest of the sizable audience agreed with me because we all gave him a standing ovation with a couple extra curtain calls!

We weren’t the only ones who enjoyed it. Check out Jennifer Hambrick’s concert review!

Philippe Quint seems to be quite prolific in terms of recorded music.  He’s been nominated for several Grammy awards and has even recorded the Mendelssohn concerto we heard at this concert.  Visit  his website so you can learn more about him. Be sure to check out his recordings, while you’re there.

On a side note, Philippe Quint was also in a movie last year about a Russian violinist working in New York.  Take a look at this trailer. At least here we certainly don’t have to worry about the lead actor’s merely playing the “air violin!”

Chamber music

The beauty of ProMusica Chamber orchestra is that it allows for chamber music to be played. It’s smaller than a full-fledged symphony orchestra and can still play symphonies that call for a full orchestra, (though you probably won’t see something like Mahler or Stravinsky in this setting) but it also has the ability to just send out a handful of musicians as it did with its opening piece: Mysliveček’s Octet (Parthia) for Winds in B-flat Major. The concert started with eight musicians: two clarinets, two oboes, two bassoons and two french horns – played by CSO hornists Principal Gene Standley and Adam Koch.

What they played was a beautiful piece by someone I’d never even heard of before: Czech composer, Josef Mysliveček, a contemporary and friend of Wolfgang A. Mozart. (though I saw somewhere they eventually had a falling out over an opera commission or something. I’ll have to look into that!).  The clarinet parts were especially good and it was all extremely well-played.

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Our revised program!

Speaking of Mozart

The second half of the program was devoted to Mozart’s Symphony No. 40. Maestro David Danzmayr commented on how they just exchanged one G-minor symphony for another.  (The program was originally going to perform Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in G-minor, K. 183. If you’ve seen the movie Amadeus, you’ll recognize it as the opening music being played after Maestro Salieri makes his entrance.)

I’ve been hearing so much Romantic and 20th Century era music lately that hearing this symphony was like I had a chance to go home and spend time relaxing in a familiar and comfortable setting.  It was wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Of course – I like Mozart so much that I’m already planning a road trip down to Chattanooga, TN to hear this very piece performed again by the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra as part of its chamber series. I’m really looking forward to hearing them play in February!

Coda

KUDOS to ProMusica Chamber Orchestra for an added piece of entertainment: Coda. After their concerts, they allow the audience to meet and ask questions of some of the musicians from that evening’s concert. In this case, we had the opportunity to hear Maestro Danzmayr and soloist Philippe Quint afterwards. And while sure, that was cool and all, I also got to finally meet Classical 101′s own morning host, Boyce Lancaster! Yea!

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Maestro David Danzmayr – Philippe Quint – Boyce Lancaster

Mr. Lancaster started things off (once someone found batteries for the microphones! D’oh!) asking them about the changes and such for this concert. From there they went all over the place and seemed to really enjoy answering questions from the audience. I loved having the opportunity to get to know the musicians a little bit in a more informal – and approachable – setting.

Upon meeting Mr. Lancaster, he asked me, “Isn’t this a wonderful way to spend an evening?”

Absolutely! Well done, ProMusica!

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Want more violins? Come back on Monday for part I of an exclusive interview with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster, Jean-Sébastien Roy.  OK – I still don’t know how exclusive it really is, but it’s pretty cool all the same!  He’s very talented – you’ll want to meet him! 

 

McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra

Last May, prior to creating Giocosity, I attended a concert at a venue up in Worthington at the Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center.  I’d never been there before, but I’d driven right by it a million times because it’s literally right next to Thomas Worthington High School (on Dublin-Granville Road, just east of 315) where I taught my SAT prep classes for two years.

Thanks to friending Karl Pedersen on Facebook, I saw that there was going to be a performance of a clarinet quintet featuring Mr. Antoine Clark on the clarinet as well as four strings – two violins, viola and cello.  This is not the kind of music we typically get to hear at the Symphony, so I went online and ordered a ticket.  (Tickets were only $8 online, and $10 at the door – can’t beat that!)

Taken from the program:

Muses have inspired many composers to write masterful works. This was in fact the case for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Carl Maria von Weber, who each wrote quintets for the leading clarinetist of their day. Respectively, Anton Stadler and Heinrich Baermann were muses for Mozart and Weber. From these two composers we received the pillars of the clarinet’s literature composed during the Classical and Romantic periods. Not only did Mozart and Weber write clarinet quintets for their muses but they also wrote concertos, symphonies, operas, and other chamber works that featured the clarinet. Through their music, Mozart and Weber featured the clarinet as a sensual and virtuosic solo voice.

Members of the Columbus Symphony, Robert Firdman, violin; Ariane Sletner, violin; Karl Pedersen, viola and Luis Biava, cello will join clarinetist, Antoine Clark in a performance of these two great chamber works. Also, featured on the program are works by Anton Stadler and Heinrich Baermann.

What a wonderful concert!  I never get to see small ensembles like this so this was a real treat for me. I’d heard the Mozart piece before but the others were all new to me and made up a fantastic collection of pieces to play.  Naturally, some of these works have since found their way into my music library, but I really hope Mr. Clark is able to put on more concerts with this group of musicians because I’d definitely love to hear more!

Clarinet Quintet

I snuck a picture of them right as they started playing.

This performance was right before I went up to Canada last Spring, so I never got around to writing about it until now.  Just before the concert started, Mr. Clark announced that there was going to be a chamber concert a week or two later.  That was the day I was driving back, so I was unable to go.

Since then, I’ve signed up for the Email list and fortunately, there’s going to be another chamber music concert with the new McConnell Arts Chamber Orchestra!  It’s under the direction of Antoine Clark again and will be performing a week from Sunday: November 10th at 3pm and looks really good!  Here’s what’s on the program.

Mozart,        Overture “Don Giovanni”

Haydn,         Symphony No. 104 in D

Beethoven,     Symphony No. 4 in Bb 

3pm on a Sunday afternoon at an easy-to-get-to place with plenty of parking.  You can check the football scores at intermission and if you’d like,  you can even wander around the free art gallery right across the hall from Bronwynn Theater before the concert starts.  Here’s a link to the concert for more information on the program and tickets ($20 online, $25 at the door)

The McConnell Arts Center has a lot going on.  When I was there last May, the art gallery was filled with some really good paintings and sculptures made by area high school students.  The arts center itself offers art classes, art exhibitions, other concerts providing a rather eclectic mix of music, movies, special events, etc.  It’s really quite cool and is right off 315 on 161.

We’re lucky, Columbus.  I hope you’ll check it out!

Shall We Dance?

This past Saturday, I had the good fortune to return to the Ohio Theater to hear the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s first concert of the new year: Vienna Dances.  How exciting!   I hurriedly dressed in my white, sequined jacket and bellbottoms, grabbed my dancing shoes and went out to meet up with John Travolta for a thrilling night of dancing.

To my utter surprise there was no disco ball hanging from the ceiling of the Ohio Theater.

Instead, we were all treated to a night of dances from Romantic-era composers J. Strauss, R. Strauss, Brahms and Mozart that were popular in Vienna.  What a delight!  OK, so Mozart was from the classical era, but I’ll take his music anytime!

The evening started out with a Strauss overture to Die Fledermaus. Don’t know what a Fledermaus is? That’s OK because I don’t either. However the music was a ton of fun!  It was almost bouncy – happy – joyous, even!

The next piece was Strauss’ (another Strauss) Burleske in D Minor for Piano and Orchestra.  Pianist Marc-André Hamelin, another terrific Canadian import, did a wonderful job with this fun piece

Maestro Zeitouni went on to play a few Hungarian dances by Brahms. Don’t recognize them by name? Don’t worry – I didn’t either, but I did recognize them when I heard them, and couldn’t help but clapping my hands off with a huge grin afterwards. Didn’t think I could like waltzes this much.

During intermission, I took it upon myself to change seats and move back a few rows since a very tall man had been sitting in front of me.  On a positive note, there were plenty of empty seats available which allowed me to do that.  On a negative note, there were plenty of empty seats available which allowed me to do that.  Where are you, Columbus?  You have this amazing musical talent at your disposal, super easy and convenient parking (State House Lot – $4 only) yet you stayed home.  Yes – some tickets can be super expensive and like me, you may end up trading off haircuts and highlights in favor of going, but once in a while – that $25 for the ticket just may be what the doctor ordered.  Yes – I sit in the cheap seats – $25 each – and am very high up, but did you know that there’s simply not a bad seat in the house – especially up in the balcony?  The view is good (albeit a tad high) and the sound is wonderful. 

I’m a fan of the balcony for that very reason: the wonderful sound.  Even if given the choice, I wouldn’t sit in the orchestra section.  For starters, I’m short and everybody who sits in front of me is not.  But the more important reason is the sound itself.  Why do I go to the symphony?  To hear music, of course!  I’m not there to gab with someone during the performance, that’s why there’s an intermission.  No, I go for the music and if I’m sitting in the orchestra section, the orchestra itself is potentially higher up than I am which means the sound travels right over me.  Plus, if sitting in the front,  I hear whatever section happens to be right there in front.  I can’t get a full appreciation of the ensemble’s full output at that level.  However, if sitting in the balcony, the sound has a chance to blend quite nicely before working its way up to greet me.  Finally, it’s always nice to be able to see all the musicians. 

Sure, I would love to sit right by the pianist while he’s playing, but if the CSO has yet to take me up on my offer to be a seat filler for the clarinet section they sure as heck aren’t going to let me sit right next to the pianist during a performance. 

OK fine.  I’ll settle for sitting next to the pianist during a rehearsal. 

Can’t blame a girl for trying.

After Intermission we came back to Strauss’ Emperor Waltz and a slightly-out-of-place Classical era piano piece by Mozart, the Concert-Rondo in D Major.  This was my favorite piece of the evening despite its being the least showy of them all, but I’m hopelessly biased when it comes to Classical, Baroque or Early music.  Everything else is too heavy or too funky for me and yes, that pretty much includes all Romantic-era and 20th Century music, though don’t worry – I have plenty of exceptions from those two centuries!

The concert ended with the Strauss Suite from Der Rosenkavalier which resulted in a standing ovation and a bunch of “BRAVO”s being yelled out in the section next to mine!

Mr. Hamelin did a wonderful job on the piano.  He had a very light and happy touch – nothing too heavy or overbearing.  The program stated that he started piano lessons at age 5, too.  Music is so important – not something to ever be denied someone, no matter what age.  Look what he became!  He’s playing concert halls all over the world including, thankfully, right here in Columbus for us all to enjoy.  Bravo, sir!  Bravo!

I really do recommend taking a moment to look at the upcoming schedule and pick out at least one concert to attend.  There are some really good ones coming up, too.  This Saturday, for example, promises a great performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and the first weekend in February will be a great performance of Mozart and Haydn’s music.  The Mozart and Haydn concert is the one to which I’m taking Mom and Dad because that’s their favorite, too.  These two concerts present the music that is probably most popularly known although Rite of Spring is coming up in March.

You can even make these concerts a last-minute idea for an evening’s worth of entertainment.  Last weekend when I was there, my 500-seat section up top was at about 10-15% capacity.

Come on, Columbus!  Help me fill it up and I PROMISE to leave my sequins and bellbottoms at home!

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