Last night’s concert at Jordan Hall had some of the most extraordinary music-making we have ever heard. The hype was that Mozart’s actual violin and viola were used in the performance, but the artists who made music on them were especially expressive and sensitive, making for a magical evening. They included Amandine Beyer, violin; Milos Valent, viola; Eric Hoeprich, period clarinet; and Kristian Bezuidenhout, fortepiano. Call us old-fashioned, but our only complaint was that Amandine wore jeans and her midriff was showing most of the evening! The playing from all four instrumentalists was unusually fine, but especially from Kristian Bezuidenhout, who made every note sing. It was fabulou!
We missed the pre-concert talk, but the woman behind us gave us a synopsis. The instruments are normally housed at the Mozarteum Foundation in Vienna. I did not know that besides being a pianist and a composer, Mozart also was acclaimed as a violinist. According to the program, Mozart’s concert violin — for which the violin concertos were written — dates from the early eighteeneth century. Made from pine and maple in Mittenwald, Bavaria . . . it has been preserved in
practically original condition. It has the bright, silvery tone favored in Mozart’s time. After Mozart moved to Vienna in 1781, the instrument remained in the family’s possession
and, by way of his sister Nannerl and various intermediate owners, came to the Mozarteum Foundation in 1955.”
The viola is assumed to be the instrument on which Mozart played his string quartets and quintets.
Apparently the instruments never are booked on the same airplane flight, so that if ever there was a plane crash, at least both would not be lost! There must always be two members of the Mozarteum present at all times when the instruments are away from the foundation.
Guess what! Dame Emma Kirkby was seated in the same row as we were, about three seats down, so Carl went over and gave her a box of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, on behalf of Vreni Griffith, one of her biggest fans. She said to greet Vreni for her.