An afternoon of Amadeus 

 

THE LEADER, SUNY Fredonia

(click on the title to read the complete review on the Web)

September 24, 2014

The Western New York Chamber Orchestra presented its first performance of the 2014-15 Classic Series Season this past Sunday afternoon with an “All Amadeus” program...

Between the two settings was a piece Mozart composed nine years after “Regina Coeli,” Mozart’s best-liked piano concerto, Concerto No. 12 in A major, K.414, sometimes known as “little A major.”

 

In a letter Mozart wrote to his father while in Vienna, he gave a perfectly fitting description of the work. Mozart wrote, “[The concerto] is a happy medium between too easy and too-difficult; it is very brilliant, pleasing to the ear and natural without being dull.” That is exactly what the concerto was.

 

The piece abounds with beautiful melodic ideas that express Mozart’s nature entirely. Soloist Dmitri Novgorodsky, an assistant piano professor at Fredonia, performed the joyful concerto in such a way that even the most dispirited of listeners were filled with joy.

Novgorodsky appeared incredibly comfortable performing the concerto. There were a number of times he played without looking at the keys. He performed with a sort of graceful energy that allowed him to transfer from tranquility to ferocity in a matter of seconds, a characteristic that made many audience members look to their neighbor in amazement.

Mozart treasured K.414 so much that he wrote out the cadenzas (musical ornamentation that displays virtuosity, usually in “free” rhythm), which is unusual, as Mozart himself would often improvise the cadenzas during performances and leave the performer of the day with the freedom to improvise the cadenzas himself.

“The cadenzas [Mozart had written out] are quite technically demanding,” Novgorodsky explained. “But what makes the concerto stand out is, rather, its musical features: the orchestra coming in on the soloist’s cadenza in the final movement, the lyricism of the slow movement’s middle section and generally the abundance of great operatic tunes and characters scattered throughout the cycle.”

That said, Mozart’s level of musical sophistication in the concerto had abundantly increased, since it was composed nearly a decade after “Regina Coeli.” This was apparent throughout all three movements...