[Noozhawk] Santa Barbara Symphony Goes All Out for Mozart
By Gerald Carpenter, Noozhawk Contributing Writer
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The last pair of regular concerts in 2013 by the Santa Barbara Symphony will take place at 8 p.m Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in the Granada Theatre.
There'll be a guest conductor on the podium — Matthias Bamert, former music director of the London Mozart Players — but no guest soloists. There will be many solo passages, but the first chair musicians of this symphony will certainly be able to manage them without any outside help.
Bamert being a well-known specialist in the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, it should come as no surprise that the program consists of three works by that composer, and none by anybody else. We will have Maestro Bamert's informed and authoritative reading of the Serenade No. 10 in Bb-Major for Winds and Double-Bass, K. 361/370a, "Gran Partita"; the Serenade No. 13 in G-Major, K. 525, "Eine kleine Nachtmusik"; and the Symphony No. 25 in G-Minor, K. 183.
As much as I would like to have something new and startling to tell you about Mozart or any of these works, I don't. Aside from the fact that the Serenade No. 10 is called "Gran Partita" because the term is written, and misspelled, on the earliest manuscript score, I haven't really anything to say about the pieces at all. Moreover, since words are not written in Mozart's hand, it would be pointless to speculate what he might have meant by them. Also, I might add that the Symphony No. 25 is not played very often, though it is delightful, and so hearing it in concert will be a charming novelty. Klemperer was quite fond of it, and even he could not impose his gloomy outlook on it.
Ordinarily, I treat with skepticism any extra-musical notions about a composer. I have to make a partial exception with the so-called "Mozart effect," because, whatever it is, I think I have experienced it on many occasions. What I have found is that listening to Mozart when I am working — his instrumental music, I mean — often helps to clarify my thoughts, to organize my information and opinions, and to string them together more coherently than I might otherwise have managed to do. I can't be anymore detailed than that, and anyway, I don't know how it works, I just know that it does.
One of my early heroes, Robert Benchley, once wrote that, when he was leaving the theater after having watched a play by George Bernard Shaw, he felt somehow wittier, more intelligent, more insightful, than when he had entered the theater. I image we will experience analogous feelings — on musical rather than verbal themes — after listening to, and enjoying, this program.