Music marks the 250th birthday of Mozart


Published: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 8:42 p.m.
What's this? Mozart's burial in Vienna wasn't in a pauper's grave?
Major anniversaries tend to bring forth biographical revisions, and the 250th birthday of Wolfgang Mozart - on Friday - is no different. The touching notion of the starving artist has been reinforced by such popular biopics as the 1984 film "Amadeus."
But the truth, in this case, is somewhat more prosaic.
In any event, we'll be hearing various versions and clarifications in the months ahead. More important on this occasion, of course, is the music, and a series of Mozart-specific programs continues tonight; and the experience of listening to it remains sublime.
The University Symphony Orchestra offers a free program at 7:30 p.m. in University Auditorium, under the baton of its faculty conductor Raymond Chobaz. Providing narration will be Sidney Homan, English professor at UF and noted Shakespeare scholar. Tonight's concluding work is "Symphony No. 25 in G Minor," whose first movement figures so prominently in the beginning of "Amadeus."
Before that, University of Florida School of Music faculty members, pianists Kevin Sharpe and Kevin Orr, will join the ensemble for "Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in E-flat Major."
While those two works are not among the most commonly encountered Mozart items, the concert's opener is even more of a rarity. "Adagio and Fugue in C Minor" is for string orchestra, and the work's second half is the composer's own adaptation of an earlier work for piano duo.
The same forces will repeat this program for the First Presbyterian Church concert series, running at 4 p.m. Sunday. While this performance is also free, a free-will offering will be collected to benefit the Interfaith Hospitality Network.
On Friday, Mozart's actual birthday, the New York Chamber Soloists will be the main attraction in a return engagement at University Auditorium. The 7:30 p.m. performance will be preceded by a free discussion at 6:45 in the Friends of Music Room, led by members of the ensemble.
The 12-member group will be split up in various combinations to present six of Mozart's chamber music works, offering a pretty good idea of the composer's versatility. There's a divertimento for oboe, clarinet and bassoon; a quartet in D for flute, violin, viola and cello; a trio for clarinet, viola and piano; an "Adagio and Rondo" for flute, oboe, viola, cello and piano; a sonata for bassoon and cello; and the "Piano Quartet in E-flat Major."
Call 392-2787 for ticket information. The following day, five members of the New York Chamber Soloists also will put on a presentation of the children's tale, "Ferdinand the Bull," as set to music by Hugh Aitkin. Along with a narrator, they will return to University Auditorium at 11 a.m. on Saturday for this program.
David Grundy can be reached at dmgrundy@aol.com.

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