Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mozart was the Best!

Having slackened off a bit on the music scene, being 'too busy' on Monday, and 'not bothered' on Tuesday despite a Mozartfest in town, tonight I got myself together to go to the Filharmonia in Kiev. Tonight's theme for the concert of the Kiev Chamber Orchestra was Mozart and Salieri. The concert started with a Salieri symphony ('The national day' or something like that). It really was not a great piece of music; seemed quite thrown together, especially the last movement (although, to be fair, it was a Rondo) - the ending in particular was never-ending. This was followed by Mozart's 29th symphony. Both pieces were played standing up and with a fair bit of energy, almost approaching enthusiasm (but not too much). The conductor, Roman Kofman, managed to pull some nice peaks and troughs out of the orchestra. There were a couple of ropy moments in the French horns, but there are always ropy moments in French horns. I wondered though about the ladies in the orchestra, who wore the usual Ukrainian HIGH HIGH heels, and how they were coping standing up.

The second half was very interesting - it was a concert performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's opera 'Mozart and Salieri'. Have you heard of that? No, I had not either. It's a tiny opera with two protagonists - guess who - and a choir. It's based on Pushkin's verse drama of the same topic, and is a conversation between Mozart and Salieri - Salieri being the bass part, I assume, and Mozart the tenor. it is in Russian which is a bit unexpected, though probably it should not be. The music is fairly classical, and it ends with a big quote of Mozart's Requiem. So the story of Salieri doing Mozart in was already around in Pushkin's day. It was really interesting hearing this little opera.

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