Would you like some mustard with your Mozart? You're in luck, because Mozartiade is coming to the Sundin Music Hall at Hamline University. It will be an evening of food, drink and socializing, all suffused with the music of Mozart.
Hosted by the Musical Offering, a Twin Cities chamber ensemble, the event is aimed at creating a lively and social atmosphere and comes this Sunday, just days after Mozart's 259th birthday.
This year's Mozartiade follows up on last year's successful Schubertiade, named after the practice during Schubert's lifetime of inviting the composer to salon-type gatherings in people's homes. According to Alex Legeros, executive director of the Musical Offering, the parties would include food and wine breaks, plus time for social conversations. The Schubertiades were "a unique tradition with chamber music," Legeros said.
Last year, the Musical Offering's Schubertiade was so successful and received such a strong response, they decided to repeat the event this year with Mozart. "We're trying to incorporate enjoying food and talking about ways chamber music is supposed to be enjoyed with atmosphere, so the music can be digested," Legeros said.
One of the most successful aspects of last year's event was the number of new audience members the event brought to the Musical Offering's work. "The interesting thing for us was that it reached a different kind of concert-goer," said Legeros. "They were attracted to the idea of killing two birds with one stone." About half of the people that came returned to see regular concerts.
Last year, the Schubertiade included a number of different samples of Viennese cuisine, including cheeses, sausages, and spreads — plus stuffed mushrooms, various choices for wine, and desserts like chocolates and finger tortes and berry jam sandwiches.
The comestibles create a more relaxed atmosphere, Legeros said. The musicians themselves enjoy it too, allowing for socializing with the audience.
Norbert Nielubowski, who acts as co-artistic-director of the Musical Offering with Susan Billmeyer, said the program is part of the organization's three-year series that looks at the music of Vienna from 1780-1930.
The concert includes a range of works by Mozart, including a flute sonata Mozart wrote when he was eight years old as well as later works such as a trio for clarinet, viola, and piano called the Kegelstatt Trio, which the composer wrote while doing the Viennese equivalent of bowling. The evening also will feature a quintet with two violas and a serenade for winds.
The diversity of the pieces in the evening show how much Mozart evolved over his life, Nielubowski says. "It's more interesting for people not that familiar with chamber music," he says. "They don't need to be as afraid."
Generally, the Musical Offering gives a bit of an introduction before each of the pieces, to give some historical perspective and personal perspectives about the music from the musicians. "We try to break down the barrier between performers and audiences," Nielubowski says.
The connection between music and food has been so successful, Niebulowski says they are considering making it the organization's niche, so that "people associate us with music and food," he says.
Mozartiade takes place Feb. 8 at 3 p.m., Sudin Music Hall, Hamline University. Tickets are $50, available online at MusicalOffering.org or over the phone at 651-523-2459.
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