More about Mozart

Mozart Reconsidered (Again)
“Present-day scholars are picking away at the myths and fantasies that have encrusted the world’s most famous composer. They describe him not as a naïve prodigy or a suffering outcast but as a hardworking, ambitious, successful musician — ‘Mozart as a Working Stiff,’ to borrow the title of a 1994 essay by Neal Zaslaw.”
The New Yorker, 17th July

I haven’t read the article yet, but it sounds promising.

Toronto’s new Opera House

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
Designed by Toronto architect Jack Diamond and located at 145 Queen St. W., the Four Seasons Centre integrates the best features of the grand European opera houses with innovative technology in acoustics and sightlines. As well as being the new home of the Canadian Opera Company, the Four Seasons Centre is also the performance venue for The National Ballet of Canada. It will attract international-calibre artists in both opera and dance, along with international attention.

I found out about the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts while researching Toronto as part of our preparations for our holiday in Canada in October. It certainly looks like an impressive architectural achievement, and I hope to see it while we’re there. Our return flight home is from Toronto, and we plan to spend a couple of nights there at the end of our stay in Canada. I’ve checked Canadian Opera’s performance schedule and see that there’s a performance of Cosi van Tutti on the evening before we leave. Maybe we’ll get to see that (well, maybe I will; I’m not sure if Carl would be interested).

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András Schiff about Mozart

Guardian Unlimited Arts | Arts special reports | The real Wolfgang
Today, everyone feels an urge to contribute to our image of Mozart. Scientists try to explain the neurological phenomenon of genius, psychologists see him as a victim of his tyrannical father, stage directors — many of whom can neither speak Italian nor read music —use his operas as vehicles to express present-day social and political ideas that are totally alien to the works in question.

This is a quote from an article by András Schiff, defending Mozart against his detractors in this, his anniversary year. The full article is worth a read. (I especially like the reference in the quote to the work of stage directors.)

Summer Concert programme

We did the draw for the Summer Concert presenters at the session on 8th July. Names out were Liam and David, with John as substitute. Liam subsequently indicated that he wouldn’t be available on the date, so John has taken his place. The concert programme will be in David’s place on 29th July. As usual, there is no need to bring along a CD, as David and John will have the floor for the entire session.

IMPORTANT UPDATE, 27th JULY:  Due to a misunderstanding, John is not now able to participate in the Summer Concert presentation. In his absence, and because of the short notice involved, David will run solo, and will alone decide the concert programme.

Lorraine Hunt RIP

Roy brought along a couple of CDs to the session on 8th July to pay tribute to Lorraine Hunt Lieberson who died the previous Monday at the tragically young age of 52. She had been ill for some time with cancer, and succumbed to it at her home in San Diego. Roy’s first choice was a recitative and aria from Handel’s Theodora. This was intensely affecting, and left us all a bit shell-shocked afterwards, to the extent that we needed five minutes or so to recover before we continued with the music.

Most of those who were there made a note of the CD, and I followed it up afterwards, discovering that the album is available for download from the iTunes Music Store. So, for the princely sum of €9.99, I now have the whole CD on my pooter to dip into as I feel like it. Roy is quite right when he says that this is not a CD to listen to right through. It’s very much a question of dipping into from time to time.

Update, 8th August: &nbspThere’s been lots of reaction around the web to the sad news of Lorraine’s passing. Among the best is this blog entry, which in turn links to further comment and tribute.

A great new beginning?

Right now I have no clear idea what function this blog will fulfil. The usual way with blogs is to use them to post regular updates of news and opinions and the like, peppering these with links to other web sites, images and so on. I’ll start the ball rolling with some posts about music-related bits and bobs I’ve come across recently on the web, and who knows where this will develop to from there. Remember, too, that we can all write posts for inclusion in this blog, so don’t be shy.