- The Washington Times - Friday, January 20, 2006

Local cultural institutions are joining the celebration of composer Wolfgang Ama-deus Mozart’s 250th birthday.

The National Symphony Orchestra will give three concert performances of Mozart’s opera “The Abduction From the Seraglio” beginning Thursday, the eve of the composer’s birthday. His music will be in a dozen of the symphony’s vocal, chamber-music and orchestral concerts through June 17.

On Jan. 19, the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art began the three-month celebration of “Mozart on the Mall” with a piano recital including works influenced by Turkish music. The gallery is showing an exhibit of silk garments from Turkey’s Ottoman empire.

The National Museum of American History today is starting a series of four Mozart chamber concerts. It also will have a symposium March 26 called “Happy Birthday, Mozart,” with discussions and demonstrations of his music.

There will be three orchestral concerts at the National Gallery of Art, where itineraries and brochures for visitors interested in art of Mozart’s period will be distributed. The Library of Congress is planning Mozart concerts on Feb. 21 and April 28 and an exhibit of his manuscripts and first editions.

The National Academy of Sciences has scheduled a piano recital on Jan. 29 devoted to Mozart’s work, and the Hirshhorn Museum of Art is planning a program called “Time and Memory,” with recent work inspired by Mozart.

When he was alive, Mozart’s relations with officialdom were not very good. He broke sharply with the prince-archbishop of his native Salzburg, originally his patron. The archbishop’s high steward called him a boor and kicked him out of his office. One of his most famous operas, “The Marriage of Figaro,” provoked suspicion by its scornful treatment of the aristocracy, and Mozart was suspected of revolutionary ideas.

There’s a story that the Austrian emperor remarked that one of Mozart’s works had too many notes.

“Just as many as needed, your majesty,” Mozart is said to have replied.

Carl Hartman


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