Noilly Prattle: T. G. I. Friday—I suppose

Sunday, January 29, 2012

T. G. I. Friday—I suppose

Happy Birthday

Lot's of galloping hormones along the streets on a Friday night as we walked through Old Town to the theater—young males on the prowl for a good time.

Radek Baborák
The morning after and I've sufficiently descended from Cloud 9 to talk reasonably coherently about last night's all Mozart concert at the Theater of the Estates in honor of Mozart's birthday.

The concert was conducted by the accomplished French Horn player Radek Baborák who also soloed in two horn concertos by Mozart (Horn Concerto #3 in E flat major and Horn Concerto #1 in D major). There is little point in oohing and aahing about the quality of the music. Baborák had perfect rapport with the musicians of the National Theater Orchestra and led them with a firm baton and encouraging smiles and nods for one of the tightest and most disciplined orchestral concerts I've listened to. Mozart himself would have enjoyed this birthday party.

Theater of the Estates

The charming and relatively small and intimate Estates Theater was the perfect (if not ideal) venue for a Mozart concert since the theater is closely associated with him. Mozart himself premiered and conducted what is said by some to be the “best opera ever written”--Don Giovanni here in October 1787. It was called the Teatro di Praga at the time.

Box #2
We had box seats with a view looking down on the orchestra so that it was clear to see all the action; from the conductor dancing and cajoling the instruments individually and in groups to the whole orchestra performing as a single organism. My attention sometimes wandered to little details that you wouldn't normally notice from seats on the floor: the first violinist fingering the strings in her solo, one cello player dancing with his instrument with head bobbing the beat and rhythm, and so on. It felt like being right on the stage in a musical bath of surround sound stereo-like quality.

view from our box

Baborák, speaking in Czech, said that Mozart's music is “truly inspired, beautiful, entertaining, uplifting, one that has withstood the ravages of time. I hope that today's concert will serve as proof of this.”

It most certainly did. I would only add “light” to Baborák's adjectives. Mozart brought the light of the Enlightenment to music—probably the greatest point of expansion of the human spirit in history. Now we have dissonance. What a joy to bask, however briefly, in that light that is Mozart's enduring gift to us. 

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