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Mainly Mozart closes with "the modern Mozart"

Pianist Friedrich Gulda incorporated jazz into his classical life

Michael Francis and violinist Stefan Jackiw - Image by J Kat Photography
Michael Francis and violinist Stefan Jackiw

The wildly entertaining final concert of The 2024 Mainly Mozart Festival, held on Thursday, June 27, sealed the deal for this being a festival to remember. During the performance of Mozart’s Prague Symphony, Marine Corps F35s made their presence felt and heard at The Epstein Family Amphitheatre. As they did so, members of the orchestra started smiling, and music director Michael Francis turned to the audience with a comment that was drowned out by the F35s. The music of Mozart was mixed with what could be called the sound of American freedom, and no one missed a beat.

The rambunctious concert continued with Antonin Dvorak coming in like a wrecking ball with the fifth movement his Czech Suite. After racing to the conclusion of the Dvorak, Maestro Francis addressed the audience with a story about “the modern Mozart.” As he told it, Friedrich Gulda was one of the greatest pianists of the 20th Century. While making his Carnegie Hall debut in 1950, he wandered into the Birdland Jazz Club and heard Count Basie. Gulda then incorporated jazz into his classical life. As Maestro Francis put it before the performance, Gulda is the modern Mozart.

Gulda’s Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra concluded the concert. Robert DeMaine, the seasoned principal cellist of the LA Philharmonic, was the soloist, and he absolutely killed it. He was simply perfect for the part of the rebel cellist.

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The festival concluded on Saturday, June 29, with a high flying concert tingedwith a Scottish flavor. The first piece was Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy for solo violin with orchestra and harp. Violinist Stefan Jackiw was the soloist, and he was razor sharp. I first heard Jackiw about six years ago. At the time, I thought his playing was phenomenal. Based on his performance here, it seems there are several levels beyond phenomenal. Jackiw is ascending in his art form and has cracked through to the top echelon of violinists in the world. He will be performing with The La Jolla Music Society later this summer.

The second piece was Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 “Scottish.” As the piece progressed, an aura seemed to appear an about the orchestra. It started looking like it would be quite cool to the touch. But by the time the we reached the end, it was a super-heated plasma cloud, one that defied the laws of physics. It is a phenomena found only when the very best players are playing the very best music led by the very best conductor.

The 2024 San Diego Mainly Mozart Festival was a musical tour de force that started strong and finished on the highest peak of artistic accomplishment.

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Michael Francis and violinist Stefan Jackiw - Image by J Kat Photography
Michael Francis and violinist Stefan Jackiw

The wildly entertaining final concert of The 2024 Mainly Mozart Festival, held on Thursday, June 27, sealed the deal for this being a festival to remember. During the performance of Mozart’s Prague Symphony, Marine Corps F35s made their presence felt and heard at The Epstein Family Amphitheatre. As they did so, members of the orchestra started smiling, and music director Michael Francis turned to the audience with a comment that was drowned out by the F35s. The music of Mozart was mixed with what could be called the sound of American freedom, and no one missed a beat.

The rambunctious concert continued with Antonin Dvorak coming in like a wrecking ball with the fifth movement his Czech Suite. After racing to the conclusion of the Dvorak, Maestro Francis addressed the audience with a story about “the modern Mozart.” As he told it, Friedrich Gulda was one of the greatest pianists of the 20th Century. While making his Carnegie Hall debut in 1950, he wandered into the Birdland Jazz Club and heard Count Basie. Gulda then incorporated jazz into his classical life. As Maestro Francis put it before the performance, Gulda is the modern Mozart.

Gulda’s Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra concluded the concert. Robert DeMaine, the seasoned principal cellist of the LA Philharmonic, was the soloist, and he absolutely killed it. He was simply perfect for the part of the rebel cellist.

Sponsored
Sponsored

The festival concluded on Saturday, June 29, with a high flying concert tingedwith a Scottish flavor. The first piece was Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy for solo violin with orchestra and harp. Violinist Stefan Jackiw was the soloist, and he was razor sharp. I first heard Jackiw about six years ago. At the time, I thought his playing was phenomenal. Based on his performance here, it seems there are several levels beyond phenomenal. Jackiw is ascending in his art form and has cracked through to the top echelon of violinists in the world. He will be performing with The La Jolla Music Society later this summer.

The second piece was Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 “Scottish.” As the piece progressed, an aura seemed to appear an about the orchestra. It started looking like it would be quite cool to the touch. But by the time the we reached the end, it was a super-heated plasma cloud, one that defied the laws of physics. It is a phenomena found only when the very best players are playing the very best music led by the very best conductor.

The 2024 San Diego Mainly Mozart Festival was a musical tour de force that started strong and finished on the highest peak of artistic accomplishment.

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