The seventh annual Johannesburg International Mozart Festival has the theme “Masquerade” and what a wonderful theme it is turning out to be.
On Saturday 31 January 2015 there was a chamber music concert at Northwards House featuring Italian composers in the first half, and various Romantic composers on the theme of Carnevale di Venezia in the second half.
The concert was supported by the Italian Institute of Culture and featured three Italian artists, Gianna Fratta (piano), Dino De Palma (violin) and Patrizia Cigna (soprano). They were all superb musicians and I was thoroughly charmed. The concert was performed in period costume.
The first half featured an arrangement of one of the movements from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (Summer) and Tomaso Albinoni’s best known work, the Adagio in G minor, both transcribed for piano and violin.
It wasn’t mentioned during the concert, but the famous Adagio in G minor is now believed not to be the work the Venetian Tomaso Albinoni, but rather a neo-Baroque piece composed by 20th-century musicologist and Albinoni biographer, Remo Giazotto, supposed based on a discovery of an old manuscript by Albinoni.
The entire concert was thriling and the audience demanded an encore which is received from two more Italian composers in the form of a transcription of the famous Figaro aria from Rossini’s Barber of Seville for violin and piano and the Casta Diva aria from Bellini’s Norma for piano and soprano.
This was an accessible concert for novices (the man sitting next to me had never been to a classical music recital before) and experts alike and was thoroughly enjoyable. The Johannesburg International Mozart Festival keeps getting better and better every year (and it started off a pretty high base).
The concert on Sunday 1 February 2015 at Northwards House is sold out, but it will feature the French oboist, Celine Moinet, with the Festival’s artistic director, Florian Uhlig on piano. There are still tickets available for Monday’s concert at Northwards House featuring Christopher Duigan on piano and Joanna Marie Frankel on violin.