Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Mozart treat if you move fast

If you're old enough to remember gathering around the TV set to see the last episode of "M*A*S*H" -- or if you've caught it more recently on a rerun -- you'll remember that Mozart's Clarinet Quintet helped the series draw to a close. Because of a schedule switch at UNC Charlotte, it will help close the school's chamber music festival tonight, Jan 26.

There'll be no comparison between the sizes of the audiences. But the "M*A*S*H" finale, which set a record for TV ratings when it first aired, must've won some admirers for one of Mozart's sunniest and most eloquent works. I worked in a record store at the time, and if my memory isn't tricking me, we did get some people asking for it.

In any case, Mozart has never been lacking for fans. If you're one of them, you know what to do.

If you're a into music of today, of course, you're unfortunately losing a chance to hear a work by one of today's most acclaimed composers, Osvaldo Golijov. Mozart's quintet is replacing Golijov's "The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind," a klezmer-tinged work that also features the clarinet. The note from UNCC about the change didn't give the reason. The concert starts at 8 p.m. at UNCC's Robinson Hall.

If you're disappointed about Golijov, Friday's visit by the Salzburg Chamber Soloists may at least offer something of a consolation prize. The group's concert at Central Piedmont Community College will include a rarely heard gem by a 20th-century master.

The 16-member ensemble from Mozart's hometown will bring along a soprano to perform Benjamin Britten's "Les Illuminations" Benjamin Britten. Written when Britten was just 19 years old, it's a series of spirited and atmospheric songs based on poems by France's Arthur Rimbaud. The soloist: Karine Polverelli, a soprano with French and U.S. training.

The evening's French connection will continue with a string-orchestra arrangement of Maurice Ravel's String Quartet. The players will also include a not-so-familiar work by their hometown boy, Mozart -- his Adagio and Fugue in C minor -- and Antonin Dvorak's "Notturno." The concert starts at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan 27, in CPCC's Halton Theater.