Happy music. That is how one of my fellow GoAhead travelers described the concert we heard at the Palais Palffy, the very same site where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart performed here with his sister, Nannerl, in 1762. That would make him 6 years old.
The concert hall seats about 200 people and as far as I can tell, every seat was taken. The building was first mentioned in the 14th century archives and was owned by Count Paul Eberhard Palffy and family until the 19th century. It was damaged in World War II but was restored to its former glory.The ensemble consisted of three violins, one viola, one cello, one flute and on piano. There was also a soprano and baritone, and a male and female ballet dancer.
The musicians played on modern instruments and were technically flawless. The flute player was absolutely virtuosic with incredible technique to play extremely fast.
They were dressed in period costumes for the first half which was all Mozart and in concert black for the second half which was all Johann Strauss.
As you know I can be quite critical of musical performances and there were two things which were a little strange. The first was the concert ‘A’ sounded by the pianist. She played ‘A’ then added ‘F’ ‘D’ (this is typical in the US at chamber music concerts) but then she added a ‘B’ natural, creating a B minor diminished seventh chord! This I have never heard before.
The second unusual thing was the combination of three violins and flute combining together to play the melody. This made the ensemble top-heavy (a little screamy) in my opinion, against one viola, cello and piano.
Of course, all the Top Ten of Mozart and Strauss were played, most all in super fast and breathless tempos, especially for the flute player. But, the ensemble was perfect and nobody got left behind.
The concert ended with a rendition of the famous Radetsky March with the audience clapping in unison. Everyone went home happy!
Here is a performance of the Vienna Philharmonic playing this piece.