I listened this afternoon, via WQXR, to the live broadcast from Salzburg, Germany of the offical gala inaugural concert (just finished) of this Mozart Year, as it's been dubbed, celebrating on this day 250 years ago the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The concert was nicely programmed — a piano concerto (#25 with pianist Mitsuko Uchida), the Sinfonia Concertante (with Gidon Kremer and Yuri Bashmet), several concert arias and several numbers from Le Nozze and Don Giovanni (with singers Thomas Hampson and Cecilia Bartoli), and a symphony (#35, the "Haffner"), all with the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Ricardo Muti (why Muti was chosen to do conducting honors is beyond me) — and I found myself enjoying every bit of it having earlier made the decision to lock my critical faculty in the closet for the duration, so to speak.
I was entirely unprepared, however, for the ringing of the church bells of all Salzburg's churches at precisely 8:00 PM (2:00 PM EST) — the official time of Mozart's birth as noted by his proud papa — and the frisson of emotion and surprise on hearing them literally made the hair rise up on the back of my neck.
But that was as nothing compared with when the Vienna Singverein joined the Vienna Philharmonic to sing, "Heil sei euch, Geweihten", the glorious final chorus from Die Zauberflöte, to close the concert (also a surprise to me):
Hail to you on your consecration!
You have penetrated the night,
Thanks be given to you, Osiris, thanks to you Isis!
Strength has triumphed,
Rewarding beauty and wisdom with an everlasting crown!
At that point, I'm afraid I lost it — totally.
Helluva excuse for a Real Man I am.