'The Mozart Project'
Messing with Amadeus
After having jammed all that into a paragraph, the fabulousness of the program, packed with goodies sure to prove the worth of one's ticket, is clear to me. But beforehand, for a minute, I was skeptical: Was inviting big names to interpret the biggest name in classical music pandering to the most basic knowledge in an effort to cast the widest net possible for an audience? Isn't the best way to appreciate Mozart to listen to his music closely, purely, free from distraction? So I emailed a few of the artists: Why mess with Mozart?
Schumann, Mills, and Reynolds politely set me straight. How can you not mess with Mozart? The fact is, we've all heard bits of his work somehow, somewhere – if not in concert, then perhaps in front of the television: Mozart is rampant in commercials, cartoons, and movies. And that is exactly why it should be revisited, reconsidered, jumped off from, they wrote. It's in our DNA, wrote Schumann; part of our "music literacy," noted Mills. Reynolds and Schumann reminded me that, duh, composers don't live in bubbles, so it's impossible not to be influenced by Mozart, and purposefully delving into his mastery results in richness, illumination, a kind of collaboration.
Schumann also reminded me about the sheer joy of association and allusion. Of course! Working with Mozart lets in the greatest number of audience members, inviting all of us to make those connections and build our personal experiences with the composer's genius. Upon stepping out of the theatre into the ever-so-slightly crisp night air, synapses firing, for a few minutes we can have it all: the we and here and now coexisting with fast-fading images of the dancers' movement, musical motifs clarified by choreography, a few remaining droplets of sound, along with all the television commercials and cartoons of childhood – melodies plinked out from the scores of our memories.
The Mozart Project will be performed Sept. 30-Oct. 2, Friday & Saturday, 8pm, and Sunday, 3pm, in Dell Hall at the Long Center, 701 W. Riverside. For more information, call 476-2163 or visit www.balletaustin.org.