Our live broadcast/webcast from the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York last night was a blast.
(If you missed it live, check out the Mozart Symphony No. 40 Friday on Performance Today, or listen to archived audio at the NPR Music site.)
Mahler's song cycle "Das Lied von Der Erde" was sharper than the night before -- members of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra cleaned up their ensemble and intonation issues. Tenor Paul Groves walked the tightrope beautifully; his role calls for drowning his fear of death in an ecstasy of alcohol, and at the same time revealing the existential dread that drives his drinking. When he boisterously sang "What's Spring to me? Just let me be drunk!", I wanted to buy him a celebratory pint of stiff Belgian ale...and give him a long consoling hug.
Anna Larsson (not this one, this one) was sublime (same adjective I used for the night before, but I still mean it) in the closing "Farewell." Her nearly whispered final words, "eternally...eternally...eternally...eternally..." spoke of, not quite an acceptance of our mortality, but at least a bittersweet reconciliation with its inevitability. I'd pay to hear her sing anything, anytime.
Conductor Louis Langree dropped in for what a press office representative insisted would be ONLY a five minute live intermission interview. But he was so excited to talk about his respect for and friendship with members of the MMF orchestra, even as his minder waved her arms to end the interview, he ignored her and went on and on about the "incroiable" talent of the players he collaborates with.
Even Allan Kozinn of the NY Times seemed reconciled to the event. A few years back, Kozinn wrote that the Mostly Mozart Festival was washed up:
Mostly Mozart has come to the end of its useful life...the reasons it was founded are no longer valid. It is clearly time to roll up the banners and think of something new.
But his review in today's Times said the festival's current approach of balancing Mozart with new music seems "innovative," and last night's performance was "brisk, lithe and the picture of clarity."
(Thanks to Jane Moss and the entire crew at Mostly Mozart for allowing us to broadcast from right backstage at Avery Fisher Hall. To WNYC's Limor Tomer and George Preston for the invitation to co-host, and a big thank you to WNYC's Terrance McKnight for letting me crash his Evening Music party.)
After last night's concert in New York, today is a travel day -- heading for the Music @ Menlo Festival in California. The venerable American pianist Gary Graffman plays a left-hand only concert tonight. Bruce (Piano Puzzler) Adolphe is doing a series of talks and master classes, and tomorrow's concert is early 20th century music by Stravinsky and Debussy, Ives and Shostakovich. I'll have music and interviews for you in the coming weeks on the air, and reports and pics here on the blog. I'm especially curious to meet the young students in Menlo...the buzz is that Menlo is stealing some of the top young up-and-comers from the Aspen Festival...check out these videos.)
And, oh yes...the title of this blog. As I write this, I'm waiting for a connecting flight at the Detroit airport. Am I the only one who thinks of a musical ensemble when confronted with the new three-letter abbreviation for Northwest Airlines?
Talk about polar opposites: I thought I'd seen everything until I saw the cover of an NWA album linked on Performance Today. As for Northwest Airlines, is there such thing as gentrification of abbreviations?
No, you are not the only one
"Straight outta Compton is a brother that'll smother ya mother
And make ya sister think I love her"
It's the most quotable song I've ever heard
Posted by Shawn Boonstra | August 1, 2008 7:12 PM