Mozart Featured On LACO's Program
March 19, 2015
By Steven Lieberman
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Music Director Jeffrey Kahane served as musical “tour guide” for LACO’s annual “Discover” program, which this season featured a special one-night-only exploration of Mozart’s incomparable and deeply moving Requiem in D minor at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena.
For this performance, Kahane enlisted the services of four very capable soloists: Alison King, soprano; Emily Fons, alto; Nicholas Phan, tenor; Aubrey Allicock, bass; and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Adding a special flourish to Kahane’s introduction to the work were Antaeus Compony actors John Sloan (Mozart) and JD Cullum (Salieri). According to Kahane, it is only a myth that Salieri poisoned Mozart. Mozart actually died of influenza or pneumonia. And they were in reality, good friends. It is only in the film, “Amadeus,” that they are depicted as arch rivals.
The evening was designed to lead patrons to a greater understanding of Mozart’s musical capstone and to appreciate the work with “new ears.” Kahane, a great music historian, explores a different work each year. He is a born educator.
After Mozart left his final work – a Requiem mass – in a tantalizing state of incompleteness at his death, his widow, Constanze, desperate for the full commission fee, turned to Franz Sussmayr, the composer’s friend, who delivered a completed score.
Noted fortepianist and Mozart scholar Robert Levin published a new edition of the Requiem in the 1990’s. Where Sussmayr was timid, Levin is bold. His daring approach made it sound more convincing structurally and more vibrant musically.
In the first half of the program, Kahane explored the legend and score of the masterpiece Mozart wrote on his deathbed, using the orchestra and singers to provide examples of Mozart’s intentions.
After intermission, he conducted Levin’s innovative completion of Mozart’s work, followed by a question and answer session in which he so eloquently enlightened and edified the remaining audience members.