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Mozart Festival: K-W Symphony really digs the great composer

By Valerie Hill

April 17, 2012

KITCHENER — No musical mystery shall remain unprobed during Kitchener Waterloo Symphony’s Mozart Festival, starting tonight with a film screening and wrapping up on the weekend with three concerts.


“So many people are fascinated by Mozart,” said Edwin Outwater, symphony director and concert conductor. “If you’ve asked who Mozart was really, the more you dig, the more wonderful it becomes.”


The festival falls under the Signatures Series, though it is an enhanced version of the usual concerts, looking at every aspect of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s life and work through music and panel discussions. Among the speakers will be Edmund Goehring, a faculty member at the University of Western Ontario, a Mozart scholar and founder of the Mozart Society of America.


Goehring and Outwater will be hosting a question-and-answer session after the screening of the film Amadeus, tonight at 7:30 at the Conrad Centre.


“I don’t really like movies about music,” admitted Outwater. “I don’t feel that way at all about Amadeus” a movie he describes as the greatest depiction of a composer’s life ever captured on film.


The 1984 film is presented in partnership with Princess Cinemas and describes the rivalry between the genius that was Mozart and his jealous contemporary, Italian composer Antonio Salieri.


On Friday and Saturday, the symphony will present a concert entitled My Favourite Mozart, featuring the Don Giovanni Overture, Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major performed by soloist Sara Davis Buechner, Violin Concerto No. 1 performed by Stephen Sitarski and all Mozart lovers’ perennial favourite, Symphony No. 38, more commonly known as the Prague Symphony, written in 1787.


Ask Outwater why he chose these particularly pieces of music and he admits “it’s my favourite Mozart. It means a lot to me.”


The four pieces are “benchmark Mozart” clearly illustrating why the 18th century composer’s music has continued to be a favourite among music lovers. The two evening performances will be preceded by a prelude, starting at 7 p.m.


On Sunday, the concert Mozart’s World will bring to audiences lesser known though equally wonderful works and presented much as Mozart himself would have done, with the first two and last two movements of the symphony bookending the concert, with a lot of other lovely and interesting music filling in the middle bit.


For this matinee concert, Outwater chose Mozart’s Linz symphony with familiar music from the Magic Flute and Ave Verum Corpus sung by the Grand Philharmonic Choir. As a special treat, Mozart’s concerto for flute and harp will be performed by the symphony’s principal flute Thomas Kay and harpist Lori Gemmell.


From the familiar, to the lesser known, to the visual depiction of Mozart’s life, to the panel discussion, no aspect of Mozart’s life will remain hidden.


“If you can come to all, you’ll have a different perspective of Mozart,” Outwater said. “He means so many things to so many people. You can really gather a lot of appreciation.


“It’s a real journey through a lot of music.”