By Ted AYALA
Mozart may have died a premature death, but in his 35 years of life he packed an enormous amount of creative activity.
Virtually no genre in existence during his lifetime did he leave untouched: opera, symphony, string quartet, liturgical music, even works for musical clocks and choral canons on humorous texts that would probably earn a parental advisory label today. Amidst that whirlwind of composition are his six string quintets, which span 16 years of the composer’s life – from a month short of his 19th birthday to just a few months before his death.
The period the quintets span also happen to be from the period from which the Mozart we know and remember today truly emerged.
From the first quintet to the last, one can trace the evolution of a composer who broke free of the precocious kid sideshow act and, instead, became a mature adult with something original and compelling to express. By the time the listener arrives at the last two quintets, one is in the presence of a composer who has learned to navigate fluidly in the realm of his chosen expression, completely secure in his movements, utterly natural.
The quintets also form a kind of snapshot of its time and place: a continent roiling with the upheavals that by the time of Mozart’s death would begin to cast asunder the last vestiges of medieval Europe.
These six quintets will be performed in two back-to-back concerts by the Salastina Society tonight, Thursday, May 22 and tomorrow, Friday, May 23 at 8 p.m. at the Church of the Angels in Highland Park.
Ending its fourth season, the Salastina Society has become another gem in Southern California’s already glittering chamber music crown, cutting a stylish niche for itself with its thoughtfully arranged programs and vital performances.
Performers will include Salastina co-artistic directors and founders Maia Jasper and Kevin Kumar (violins), as well as Robert Brophy, Victoria Miskolczy (violas), and Marek Szpakiewicz (cello).
Tickets are available at the door or can be purchased in advance. Single performance tickets are $28. Tickets for both performances are $40. Concerts will be repeated May 24 and May 25 at the St. Wilfrid of York Episcopal Church in Huntington Beach. To obtain tickets and more information, call the Salastina Society at (323) 332-6874 or visit www.salastinasociety.org. They can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.