Music from Mozart’s Last Year at Parlance Chamber Concerts

by Michael Parloff, Artistic Director, Parlance Chamber Concerts

On Sunday afternoon, May 19 at 3 PM, Parlance Chamber Concerts’s 12th season will conclude with Leading Members of the Metropolitan Opera, the Calidore String Quartet, and renowned organist Paul Jacobs exploring the profoundly mysterious world of Mozart’s Last Year. The program will showcase Mozart’s works from 1791, including songs, arias, organ music, his last string quintet, and two mesmerizing works featuring glass harmonica.

About the Artists

Twelve superb musicians will be featured on Sunday afternoon, including six top performers from the Metropolitan Opera. Soprano Wendy Bryn Harmer will perform late songs and an aria from Mozart’s last-composed opera, La Clemenza di Tito.  Wendy recently appeared in Met performances of Wagner’s Ring Cycle in the roles of Freia and Ortlinde, and she has appeared in many other Met productions and HD broadcasts in recent seasons. She will be joined by the pianist Ken Noda, a renowned vocal collaborator and sought-after coach of singers at the Metropolitan Opera, where he serves as Musical Advisor the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

Three leading woodwind players from the Met Orchestra will also perform, including principal oboist Elaine Douvas, principal flutist Chelsea Knox, and principal clarinetist Inn-Hyuck Cho. In a special appearance, the Met’s brilliant glass harmonica virtuoso, Friedrich Heinrich Kern, will be spotlighted in Mozart’s beguiling late chamber works for that ethereal instrument.

Master organist Paul Jacobs will perform a late Mozart Fantasy on West Side Presbyterian Church’s beautiful Nichols & Simpson organ. The only organist to have won a GRAMMY Award, Paul has been hailed as “one of the major musicians of our time” by the New Yorker’s music critic, Alex Ross.

Finally, the award-winning Calidore String Quartet will be joined by violist Matthew Lipman in a performance of Mozart’s last chamber work for strings, the great Quintet in E-flat, K. 614. The Calidore Quartet has enjoyed an impressive number of accolades, including their most recent award of the 2018 Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the 2017 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award.

About the Program

Although Mozart only lived to be 35, his late music plumbs the depths of the human soul, blending simplicity and profundity in equal proportions. Sunday afternoon’s concert will begin in a mood of optimism and spiritual renewal with three charming children’s songs, K. 596 – 598, about the advent of spring. Composed in a single afternoon in January,1791, the songs were commissioned by a Viennese bookseller-illustrator, Ignaz Alberti, who compiled volumes of children’s songs about the four seasons.

Next, we will hear Mozart’s final piece of chamber music, the haunting Adagio and Rondo for glass harmonica, flute, oboe, viola, and cello, K. 617. In May of 1791, Mozart attended a performance by the celebrated blind glass harmonica virtuosa, Marianne Kirchgässner. He fell under her spell and was inspired to take time off from his work on The Magic Flute to compose this mesmerizing work.

The first half of the concert will conclude with another unusual product of his final year, his grand Organ Fantasy in F minor, K. 594. This work was originally conceived for a mechanical clock organ in a mausoleum designed to honor the recently deceased military hero, Field Marshal Ernst Gideon von Laudon. Two elegiac F-minor adagios frame an exhilarating F-major allegro that evokes the heroic personality and military triumphs of the late Field Marshal. Since the piece was originally composed for a mechanical instrument, it is extremely challenging for a live performer. Fortunately, Sunday’s performance will showcase the talents of Paul Jacobs, one of the truly exceptional organists of our time.

The second half of the concert will open with the poignant soprano aria, Non più di fiori from Mozart’s last-composed opera, La Clemenza di Tito. The singer’s phrases are interlaced with the soulful strains of a solo basset horn. Mozart wrote the large instrumental obligato to feature the legendary playing of his friend Anton Stadler, one of history’s greatest clarinetists.

Parlance Chamber Concerts’s 12th season will conclude with Mozart’s effervescent String Quintet in E-Flat, K. 614, the great composer’s final large-scale piece of chamber music.

For complete program and ticket information for Sunday afternoon’s concert, click here.

The performance will take place this Sunday, May 19, from 3:00 PM to approximately 5:00 PM.

The event will take place at West Side Presbyterian Church, 6 South Monroe Street, Ridgewood. Free parking and childcare for children 3 to 6. Tickets at the door: Adults $40; Seniors (65+): $30; Young Adults (21 – 39): $20; Students (under 21): $10

Got Something to Say?

Your email address will not be published.