On Thursday, I got to chat by phone with John Lithgow, the narrator of this week's concert
. From the PSO website:
Music Director, Manfred Honeck, presents his personal version of Mozart’s Requiem where he imagines what the Mass of Mozart’s funeral could have been like. The performance features a dramatic and theatrical treatment, including church bells, Gregorian Chant and readings from Mozart’s letters to his father and passages from the Bible. The setting is Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral at the time of Mozart’s death. The all-star cast includes John Lithgow, narrator.
The date being important as today (December 4) is the anniversary of Mozart's death.
Of Mozart, Lithgow said up front that he died far too young. Of death, he talked of Honeck's idea for the concert. Death, he said, was far more familiar in the late 18th century. For example, Mozart and his wife Constanze had 6 children, 4 of whom died before Mozart's own death in 1791. Death was far more a part of life than it is now, far less terrifying as well.
Lithgow went on to say that he entire concert is, in effect, all of a piece. The concert opens with Beethoven Opus 62, the Coriolan Overture
. More of the Braufnel's Te Deum
follows. The big piece, of course, is the Requiem.
It's Honeck's meditation on death and the blessedness of life.
That being said, Thursday was also the day I, your humble blogger scribe, introduced the Emmy and Tony winning, Oscar-nominated Lithgow to the Primanti's sandwich. At the tail end of our chat, I asked him if, while he's in town, he partakes in the local cuisine, notably the sandwich with the fries and coleslaw stuffed inside.
The already perky Lithgow perked up some more, "What? I'd never heard of that! How can I get one of those right now?" I'll end this with a quote from the man himself:
"Today's the day Lithgow tried Primanti's"
Glad to be of service.