Consider the “magic” of Mozart’s music. Michael Beattie and Crafton Beck did, settling on qualities that were both ripe in composer’s lifetime and timeless in their appeal ever since.
Mozart’s Overture to The Magic Flute opens the Bravo II concert Nov. 17 at Thalia Mara Hall, under a “Magical Moments” banner that also wraps in Strauss’ tone poem Death and Transfiguration and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2.
“Mozart was just one of those composers that was destined to be — just great from A to Z and always was and always will be,” Beattie says, with music that “speaks so clearly, straight to the heart. Every time."
“It doesn’t matter what generation you are, or how many centuries it’s been since he wrote the piece, it still speaks.”
Mozart was born at exactly the right time, says Beck. That time was in 1756 Salzburg, Austria, at a time when Central European municipalities were eager to assert their identity and gain recognition. The wealthy nobility commissioned works to entertain and amuse, and the classical style of music was cleaner, with clearer divisions and brighter colors and contrasts.
“I have a suspicion that if it hadn’t been Mozart, it would have been some other genius,” Beck says. Music was evolving and had reached a point just perfect for the composer. “The music was so simple, in many ways — with a great melody and a great rhythm and a purity about it. It’s very straightforward."
“And, he was writing for the masses,” Beck adds. Their appetite for opera as entertainment dovetailed with what Mozart loved to write.
The staying power, Beattie says, lies in “this fabulous combination of simplicity and quirky left turns when you don’t expect them,” all presented in a way that welcomes revisits, time after time after time, with new rewards at each listen.
“Just delightful,” Beck says, “but, it holds up.” The music of Mozart’s contemporaries has some of the same hallmarks, but not the depth.
Beattie recalls choral and orchestral conductor Robert Shaw’s words — that artists and musicians scrape away bits from the block of marble, until the intended statue communicates exactly what it should. “Mozart absolutely excelled at that, in the same way that Michelangelo did, or Beethoven or Bach,” Beattie says. “That’s part of the reason that they retain their interest centuries later.”
“And,” Beck says, “we’ve been trying to imitate it ever since.”
The world’s moved on, but we can still enjoy the musical magic Mozart left behind.
Magical Moments Concert Program
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Overture to The Magic Flute, K. 620
Richard Strauss, Death and Transfiguration, Op. 24
Jean Sibelius, Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43
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