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Classical Notes

A Mozart Variety Show

Posted at 12:00 PM on August 5, 2008 by Gillian Martin

I'm intrigued (more intrigued than informed, unfortunately) by the history of the public presentation of classical music. Many of the conventions held sacred today (not clapping between movements; playing only complete works, no excerpts; making the audience sit in the dark; etc.) are fairly recent developments, maybe 100 years old.

So I wish I'd been at the Mostly Mozart festival in New York last Thursday, when a concert was presented more like it would have been in Mozart's day.

For example, his "Linz" symphony was performed, but not straight through: The first movement was followed by a couple of opera arias, then the 2nd & 3rd movements were played, then something else happened, then came the finale.

This review (registration required) from the New York Times doesn't mention how the audience reacted; I wish it had.