Mozart and Berstein

Sangmu’s 518 Cultural Center was thumping to strings and percussion this past Saturday, November 13th 4pm. If you missed it I’m sure you felt the contrast of the sweet and rhythmic sounds throughout Gwangju.

The concert was astounding. Violinist, Wharim Kim, introduced the different segments in an effort to increase knowledge and thus the music appreciation factor. A full house enjoyed an evening of uniquely chorigraphed music composed by Mozart and Bernstein. While there was no dancing, the unique compilations of the pieces allowed the audience to sample some obscure and sometimes unusual live orchestra instruments.

Starting with a sonata for piano and violin (Kv 301 in G major), violinist and Gwangjudae colleague, Hyun Sunee and pianist Lee MinJung opened the concert commandingly yet sweetly.

Holy Mozart pieces – Ave verum corpus, the Lacrymosa from The Requiem, Laudate Dominum from Versperae Solennes de Confessore, and a Allelujia from Exsultate Jubilate – were gently and reverently played by Wharim Kim and the percussion ensemble, YangSangBeul Rhythmiko led by Park Hye Jin.

The finale of the Mozart portion of the concert was a wonderful rendition that knitted together selections from four different operas – Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, and Cosi fan tutte. These were all played by the percussion group, YangSangBeul Rhythmiko, bird song whistle and all. Delightfully playful to witness the Glockenspiel, Celesta, Marimba, Xylophone, and the huge church bell sound.

The second half was devoted to selections from the musical “West Side Story.” Soprano, Kim WonJung and Tenor, Kang YeonChong sang selections such as Something’s Coming, Maria, Tonight, One Hand One Heart, I feel pretty and Somewhere. The marimba was a star with Shim SunMin, and the percussionist, YangSangBeul Rhythmiko, were sensation with the abstract, dissonant instrumentals of Berstein’s design. Support was given by pianist, Lee MinJung. A final piece included violinist, Wharim Kim.

The joy and love of music was apparent in every move, every note. I am grateful to be able to witness such accomplishment and verve in person.

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