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Mozart's final year brought to you by the MSO and friends
This sold out one-night-only event was the penultimate performance in the MSO's week-long Mozart Festival. Requiem was written in Mozart's final year, a tragic and abrupt full stop to a short but prodigious life.
Richard Egarr - early music specialist, keyboard soloist and bundle of barely contained energy - conducted both orchestra and chorale with his usual mixture of stillness and supercharged windmill impersonations. He drew top performances from all his charges, including solo clarinettist David Thomas and the always reliable Sara Macliver.
The program started with La clemenza di Tito, followed by the Clarinet Concerto in A with its heartbreaking Adagio. A surreptitious tear may have fallen from your reviewer during this movement: it was a favourite of my dear old Dad's and was played at his celebration-of-life not three months ago. Guaranteed to tear at the heartstrings when played well, as it was last night at Hamer Hall.
It's fair to say that this year's MSO calendar is aimed at appealing to a wider audience. The dulcet tones of Eadric Ayres reading letters written by Wolfgang Amadeus and his contemporaries helped to contextualise the music we were about to hear. The pre- and mid-performance talks - held in the stalls foyer - also help to increase its accessibility. It was there I learned about a website that lets users view first edition musical manuscripts, an invaluable resource for the Requiem which, due to the untimely death of its originator, was of necessity a collaboration of composers in its final form. It is none the less spectacular for that. Judging by the crowd (not the usual sea of grey heads), the campaign is succeeding.