About Opening Night
To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts, such is the duty of the artist…
Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
The music you hear is Wolfgang A. Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet K581 in A major (1789) performed by the Armida Quartet – Martin Funda (violin), Johanna Staemmler (violin), Teresa Schwamm (viola), Peter-Philipp Staemmler (violoncello), with clarinetist Sabine Meyer.
This was written for the renowned Anton Stadler, a clarinetist of the Royal-Imperial Court Orchestra in Vienna, who performed it at its December 22, 1789 premiere at a concert for the benefit of musicians’ widows and orphans at the Tonkünstler Society. It is thought that Mozart played the viola part at this performance. Mozart composed this work during a time of great financial stress and physical challenges for him and his wife Constanze. Its sublime beauty amidst a serene melancholy reflects an effervescent sunlit glow from the composer’s soul, who was to die just two years later at age 35. This superb performance by the Armida Quartet received 1.2 million views on YouTube in the last two years.
As 19th Century composer Robert Schumann elegantly expressed, the arts fulfill a noble, vital human need. We attend, analyze, and experience art, challenge the integrity of the artist creator and strive to authentically explore a work’s meaning, design, and beauty, and share our discoveries with you.
A world without music, dance, drama, film, literature, exploration, epicurean delights, or visual art is unimaginable. Alas, we experienced this miserable malaise that began when Covid struck.
We attended events 2-3 nights weekly until the virus closed theatres, restaurants, and concert halls, silencing actors, dancers, artists, and musicians, keeping patrons home, and shutting doors on museums and hotels.
But from this artistic abyss, the creative soul discovered means to channel, create, express, touch, and enrich our world, not in the live concert hall but through the Internet. Artists created mini-masterpieces to share their artistic imagination in a uniquely intimate setting–-I at home at my computer through my sound system, and they from multiple sites, times and venues. From the silence and sadness, incredible, vital, important artistry emerged through online multi-media productions, arguably successors of 19th-century grand opera with staging, scenery, costuming, dancing, drama, singing, and music.
Edgar Degas, Ballet Scene, c. 1907
When asked to review the Myths and Hymns series by MasterVoices in New York, I was impressed by the artistic team members developing the project, all luminaries in their respective disciplines. When I viewed and experienced the first installment entitled “Flight,” my suspicions and weariness of online video communications were cast aside. I was immediately drawn into what aesthetic theorist and philosopher Susanne Langer describes as a “purely and completely experienced reality, a piece of virtual life.” My disbelief was suspended proportional to the work’s quality, integrity, and sincerity. For a time, I existed in the virtual world of the music as I watched, listened to, experienced, and enjoyed their artistic ethos of craft and dedication.