The Unique & the expected: Mahler, Mozart, Beethoven & Johann Strauss – Naomi Yoran

My delight, last Friday, had to do in great part with the
observation that composers whom I thought I know so well, can still
surprise me. This time it happen as a result of having three composers
with  such "established musical personas" reveal themselves in
different moods. As though to day: "You think that you know me so well
but let me remind you that I can still surprise you!"

The concert started with Mahler’s "Blumine". I had
never heard it before. The ensemble was small, the music so delicate
& pure. Still, in a span of no more than ten minutes, a trumpet, an
oboe and a harp had solo parts! Aparts from his songs, I always
associated Mahler with rich orchestrations of great and complex
symphonies composed for large orchestras and choirs. The energy! The
bold sound!
So, might "Blumine" be a precursor to the delicacy, introspection and sorrow of his later lieders?
Thinking about introspection, I would not associate it right away with Mozart. But how else will I describe his Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra?
I am sure that this impression was also driven by the excellent
soloist, Michael Rusinek. Through his play, the clarinet became
Mozart’s inner voice. A voice, no more care free & infinitely
playful but lamenting at times, intimate, almost private in it’s mood.
Later, after the concert, I tried to speculate what music would  have
Mozart comosed if he would have lived longer?  This was his last
completed composition… Would he become the first romantic composer?
In contrast with Mozart, my first image associated with Beethoven
is intensity. Then, strong emotions & power of expression! Humor is
sprinkled sparingly. So it was a wonderful reminder that Beethoven not
only enjoyed humor & jokes but dedicated half of the 4th Symphony to witt & surprises. How delightful!!!
The concert concluded with Johann Strauss’ Overture to Die Fledermaus.
At this point, I got exactly what I expected. Perpetual, care free
music that I always associate with Vienna in it’s most decadent period.
The orchestra performed it with great exhuberance and the audience
responded in kind. I, however, would have been much happier if the
concert would have offered me one more unique insight…

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