Comic storyteller hosts ‘talk concert’


Tokyo Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra will invite conductor Hideaki Hirai and a host of soloists to perform much-loved Mozart classics in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

The “talk concert,” which should please newcomers and Mozart lovers alike, is hosted at Atsugi-shi Bunkakaikan on Oct. 15 by Karoku Yanagiya, the popular rakugo-ka (professional comic storyteller). Dressed a la Mozart, Yanagiya will take the audience on an entertaining journey through the Austrian composer’s musical career, as well as delivering a colorful narrative of his life.

Tokyo Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra includes among its members a variety of soloists including a pianist, a baritone, a soprano, a clarinetist and The Mozart Festival String Quartet.

Born in Salzburg in 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart showed musical gifts at a very early age, composing when he was 5 and playing in front of the Austrian empress at 6. Part One of the concert, “The Birth of a Genius,” includes the early “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” variations.

“Toy Symphony,” a composition by Mozart’s father, Leopold — and played on toy trumpets and flutes — also makes an appearance, as well as the younger Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”

The most productive and successful time of Mozart’s career was the period in which his operas and symphonies took flight. The second part of the concert includes excerpts from the comic opera “The Marriage of Figaro,” including the Act One finale aria, “Non piu andrai.”

Representing Mozart’s orchestral works is the first movement of his Symphony No.40 in G minor K.550, the most frequently performed movement of all Mozart symphonies. With its hushed, almost ethereal string opening and the delicate use of wind instruments in the second section, this piece will be one of the program’s highlights.

The concert starts at 3 p.m. at Atsugi-shi Bunkakaikan, Kanagawa Prefecture, a 13-minute walk from Hon-Atsugi Station on the Odakyu Line. Tickets are 3,000-3,500 yen yen (50 percent discount for students, school children). For tickets, call (046) 224-9999.