There are so many wonderful composers in the world, but Mozart remains my favorite. The Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra planned a “Marvelous Mozart II” concert for Saturday night at the Ridgefield Playhouse. The “II” is because they did the same thing last year (see favorite concerts page). The “planned” is because Mother Nature intervened in a less than helpful way.
The planned program was to be the Mozart Symphony No. 29, followed by the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola, and then the Mozart Symphony No. 33. The snow and freezing rain made a rehearsal impossible so the program was modified. The guest soloists, Elissa Lee Koljonen and Roberto Diaz performed a wonderful Mozart duet in place of the Symphony No. 33. Then the orchestra performed the Symphony No. 29. After the intermission came my all time favorite — The Sinfonia Concertante. I first heard this piece at the university in Salzburg, Austria some years ago and have loved it ever since. The 27 minute piece was composed in 1779 when Mozart was 23 years old.
Elissa and Roberto are both highly acclaimed artists and their performance was exquisite. They are great professionals as well as being charming and delightful people. Elissa performed the Concerto for Violin in D Major, Op. 77 by Johannes Brahams in Ridgefield on December 4, 2000 and so she was no stranger to the audience. Recognized as one of the most celebrated violinists of her generation, Elissa has thrilled many audiences.
Roberto Diaz, Elissa’s husband, is principal violist of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Roberto appeared last month on the cover of The Strad, a classical music magazine for all strings enthusiasts including violinists, violists and cellists. A Strad writer, Charles Noble, said about Roberto, "He may be modest, but there’s more to Chilean violist Roberto Díaz than meets the eye". Nobel says that Roberto is "at the top of his game". One of today’s most sought-after violists, Roberto is a leader in a wide range of musical activities. His resume is most impressive. Putting two great performers together on stage with a great Mozart composition makes for a terrific evening.
The conducting by Maestro Sidney Rothstein was outstanding, as usual. I will always appreciate the opportunity I had to learn from him and to conduct music by Mozart.