MAHMA Celebrates Mozart’s Birthday
By, Barbara Burke
Malibu’s Montgomery Arts House for Music and Architecture (“MAHMA”) is a Malibu cultural gem that offers intimate musical soirees with old world charm.
MAHMA presented “A Mozart Birthday Celebration!” on January 28. The outstanding event featured the Malibu Coast String Trio, with Maria Newman as violinist, Scott Hosfeld as violist, and Paula Hochhalter as cellist.
MAHMA’s exquisite music room has perfect acoustics and views of the mountains and the sea. MAHMA was designed by Malibuite Eric Lloyd Wright, grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright.
As the cool Malibu breeze invigorated the room, the evening began, appropriately with a performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Divertimento in Eb Major, K. 563,” the composer’s only finished work for string trio.
Musicologists instruct that the divertimento, which translates to diversion or recreation, was often considered outdoor or background music with one player per part.
Scholar Alfred Einstein wrote in Mozart: His Character, His Work, that this piece shares with most divertimenti a six-movement format, but from that no lightness of tone should be understood. Rather, the work “is a true chamber-music work, and grew to such large proportions only because it was intended to offer … something special in the way of art, invention, and good spirits. … Each instrument is primus inter pares, every note is significant, every note is a contribution to spiritual and sensuous fulfillment in sound.”
Einstein called it one of Mozart’s “noblest works.”
Introducing the work, Maria Newman informed the intrigued audience that the work has challenging twists and turns and manifests and exudes Mozart’s genius.
Malibu Chronicle had a seat affording a wonderful view of the trio as the evening’s performance began.
To watch cellist Paula Hochhalter play with intense concentration and acumen from less than two feet away is a magnificent culturally enriching experience. To watch the determination on all the musicians’ faces as they strive to achieve – and on this night indeed, did achieve – perfection gave the audience members an auditory adventure such that they too felt a part of the movements and of every hard-to-play segment of the work.
The trio performed the movements, Allegro, Adagio, Menuetto – Allegretto, Allegro flawlessly. They were awarded by both sighs of appreciation and wide applause.
Intermission was replete with complements and laudatory comments. To a person, all were thoroughly impressed.
Next, the trio performed Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Trio in G Major; Op. 9, No.1.
Introducing the piece, Newman said “This work is very interesting. Look for the rondo forms.” She was referring to a piece of music in which a refrain is repeated between episodes. “Playing this is a wonderful challenge. It is an incredibly mature work. Because we only have three instruments tonight, it is very strident and complicated.” She said.
Newman did not exaggerate.
The trio consists of four movements: I. Adagio – Allegro con brio; II. Adagio ma non tanto and cantabile; III. Scherzo – Allegro; IV. Presto.
As the musicians played the lovely work, members of the audience closed their eyes, lost in concentration and dreamy delight.
When the performance ended, the audience awarded the smiling musicians with a standing ovation.
“The performance was small and intimate like the salons of Europe.” Dianne Landau, attendee said. “I have never sat this close to a cellist’s hands. It was awesome. Hank Pollard said. “It’s what chamber music should be. MAHMA is an incredible Malibu resource.”
Interested Malibuites should consider attending MAHMA’s upcoming Valentine’s Day performances on February 8 and February 11.
“We’re starting those performances at 8 p.m. so you can all take your sweethearts to dinner.” Maria Newman said happily.
With Valentine’s Day coming love is in the air and clearly, Malibu loves MAHMA.
For More Information Go to:
Malibu Friends of Music – www. Montgomeryartshouse.com
Phone: (310) 589-0295
MAHMA is located at 6307 Busch Drive, Malibu Ca. 90265