Mozert: Arias for Coloraturas and Coloring Books (SACD-RW review)

Anna Moffet Field, contrasoprano; Rt. Honorable Maestoso M. Micetrow, M.S.S.E., North Essex Sinfonia at South Wessex. Wicca Wecords BMW 750i.

It isn't often I get a chance to review the work of musical prodigy Michael Tilson Herbert Georg Otto Bernard Mozert the Lesser (1712-1723), father of the renowned flautist and Doppelganger M.T.H.G.O.B. Mozert the Greater (c. 1704-1724). So it's a distinct honor for me, knowing as I do the younger man's penchant for flouting the flute, to hear so authoritative an interpretation as that from Maestoso M. Micetrow and his incomparable North Wessex at South Essex singers, players, and occasional hangers-on.

A little-known fact about Mozert (the Lesser), and one that constantly bewitches, bothers, and bewilders almost everyone who hears it, is that he originally wrote his Arias for Coloraturas and Coloring Books in 1735 for the noted mezzanine-soprano Mifeter Callous, a notorious dropper of names and notes. However, after a furious row over having to do the second aria da capo a cappella, Ms. Callous threatened to have her uncle, at the time a powerful capo, have poor Mozert capped. As getting capped by a capo for an a cappella capo was not the composer's idea of a capital idea, he reconsidered the proposition and assigned the part to his niece, the Italian castrato Don Vito Ivanitchie.

Anyway, I digress with these mesmerizing antidotes. As I say, it isn't often I get the chance to listen to such lilting and diverting arias so deliciously transcribed for bullhorn and woodwinds, so the opportunity is not lost on me. Unfortunately, the point remains lost, so let me seize upon the occasion to relate a story of young Mozert's encounter one afternoon in his youth with the redoubtable balloonist Professor Oscar Zoroaster Marvel and their subsequent travails in a far-off magical land somewhere over the.... But I digress again.

Countersoprano A.M. Field does an ab fab job fielding every note she's thrown and pitching a perfect score throughout the series, her West Essex support well up on their game. My only ersatz caveat, and a pejorative one at that, would be Maestro Micetrow's penchant for slackening his gait out the gate, tending to pause and crochet at the second and third crochets while poor Ms. Field has to sit and sew. I'd swear I heard her walk off the stage at one needle point.

Be that as it may, the whole affair is well catered by Wicca producer Michel Bay, who did his best to feed all the players and capture their sound before they fled. Recorded at the Little Chapel of the Crying Nuns (El Minuto Chapelle a le Nunne de la Crynoutlouda), Isole delle Femmine, Sicily, in 1738, the sound is big and bold, with the tonal resonance of a fine, chocolatey mousse mixed with the fleeting scent of bitter almonds.

I should note in closing that three years after their meeting, Micetrow and Bay eloped and are now living with seven children near a small shrub in Lompoc, California. Swell the music, Maestro. I love happy endings.

Or, as the celebrated music critic Alphonse K. Traz once remarked, quoting Ben Franklin, "Hunger is the best pickle." Yawrp.

JJP

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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

I've been listening to classical music most of my life, starting with the classical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first classical recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor. Today, I'm retired from teaching and using a pair of VMPS RM40s. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (moviemet.com, formerly DVDTOWN) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job.

Contact Information

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