At Home with Mozart

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Snape Maltings

CHRISTOPHER SMITH

Snape Maltings

With the crash and rattle of a jingling-Johnnie, the Turkish Rondo made a rousing start to this cheerful celebration of the 250th anniversary of one of the happiest birthdays in musical history. A string quartet and four woodwinds drawn from the London Mozart Players stylishly kept up the mood in a programme picked to show how well Wolfgang Amadeus could appeal to a young audience.

In wig and period costume, Alasdair Malloy had devised the event and compered it with relaxed humour. He added variety by introducing the eerie tone of the glass harmonica. This instrument, not even remotely related to the mouth organ, was briefly the rage all across Europe.

It was fascinating to listen first to a solo Mozart wrote for the harmonica, then a work neatly combining it with flute, oboe, viola and cello in a setting with a certain tense solemnity giving way to his trademark high spirits.

Then came a return to more familiar territory with a crisply played excerpt from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, variations on Twinkle, Twinkle, and Mozart's Musical Joke, which has found unexpected fame as a signature tune of show jumping on TV.

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But there was another surprise in store in the shape of Mozart's Carnival Pantomime. Performed by a volunteer cast of half a dozen children recruited on the spot, it worked remarkably well, with a mix of mime and music.

This was the first family prom as part of the Snape Summer Proms. It certainly ought not to be the last.

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