Mike Svoboda Quartet - My God Mozart!

"My God Mozart!" - about the adoration of a genius (2002)
with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Mike Svoboda and texts by da Ponte, Stendhal, Ingo Ahmels and his text adaptations of Wolfgang Hildesheimer and Elvis Presley.

played by the Mike Svoboda Quartet DJ Cherubino
Lou Simard - vocals, noises, and turntables
Frank Kuruc - e-guitar and vocals
Michael Kiedaisch - drums, accordion, e-guitar and vocals
Mike Svoboda - trombones, vocals, arrangements and compositions

concert program
Vorspann - music/text Svoboda
Ouvertura - music W.A. Mozart
Si, si moro - music/text Svoboda
Interlude - text Goethe "Wir traten ans Fenster"
Der Odem der Liebe - music W.A. Mozart, text: Da Ponte
Interlude - text Anonymus "Ich habe mir gedacht, ich schreibe Dir mal..."
Ah guarda - music W.A. Mozart, text Da Ponte
Interlude - text Ahmels "Elvis"
Che bella giornata- music/text Svoboda
Per pietà - music Mozart, text Da Ponte
Interlude - text Ahmels, "Roundabout Hildesheimer"
A little reaction - music Svoboda
Vroom - music Svoboda
Non si vide - music/text Svoboda

duration: 90 minutes with an intermission

My God Mozart! was a commission by the Nationaltheater Mannheim in cooperation with Art & Stage, Freiburg. The premiere took place on December 7th, 2002 during the Mannheim Mozart Week. The classical music quoted is taken out of Mozart's Così fan tutte KV 588.The song "Das erste Mal tut es noch weh" (in Mickey and Minnie) is from Oli P. and "Lover Letters" (in Che bella giornata) from Heyman-Young.


»... the second Mozart Festival in Mannheim took a very sucessful turn off the beaten path with Mike Svoboda's "My God Mozart!" - music theater about the adoration of a genius". Mike Svoboda is one of the world's best trombonists. He gives his instrument an amazing agility, is a virtuoso in contemporary music as well as jazz and has the necessary artistic integrity to also be a very convincing performance artist. ... a wonderful multi-facetted and respectful musical portrait.« - Stuttgarter Zeitung 8.12.02

»Svoboda's Mozart .. a colorful collage of jazz and avant-garde circling around Mozart's opera "Così fan tutte"... after 80 minutes of good and challenging entertainment, we are looking forward to the next composer who falls into Svoboda's musical grips. - Stuttgarter Nachrichten 11.12.02

program text

Opulent, congenial, artistic: Grade ”Ah!”
Mike Svoboda’s homage My God Mozart, with DJ Cherubino - Ingo Ahmels, d’c records, Bremen, 2/2003

The latest work from the ever sharp pencil of the American-Swabian jack-of-all-trades, crack trombonist and composer Mike Svoboda is, despite its premiere in the genteel setting of the Nationaltheater in Mannheim, rather modest and unassuming, in the communicative style of a theatrical chamber concert. Anyone who has experienced Svoboda, the pleasantly serious rogue, performing live will of course have suspected that the unpretentious exterior is a clear hint of quality content. In his ”singspiel on the deification of a genius” Svoboda offers sumptuous fare for both eye and ear and yet another piece ”with power and poetry” that will leave no wish unfulfilled. Svoboda’s homage to Amadé and his deification has turned out to be both adoring and cheeky. The work’s secret theme is ”love in all life’s situations.”

Svoboda’s profound knowledge of nearly the entire musical spectrum, from classical, jazz and pop to the avant-garde, flows imperturbably and playfully into his music, very much as it did for Mozart, but with the difference that nearly 250 years ago Mozart was faced with circumstances that were a good deal less complicated and with an intellectual surroundings that were far more transparent. Svoboda’s extraordinary achievement in My God Mozart should thus be appreciated all the more. In the global media confusion caused by the simultaneous availability of everything and everyone in our time—which remains narrow-minded and philistine, despite great differences in the way it sees itself—there is scarcely another composer that has proven to be more stylistically self-assured and more ”educated” than Mike Svoboda. ”On the side,” he manages to stand virtually alone as a performer of his instrument, the trombone, coaxing extraordinary things from it—another way in which he is not unlike the great keyboard virtuoso Mozart. Svoboda’s composition is organized around the foil of the colorful Da Ponte opera Così fan tutte, in which the question of love and the ability to love was asked and then given an answer, or left unanswered, in a way appropriate to its time. Unobtrusively and organically, Svoboda establishes bridges from ”his” Mozart to Stendhal’s philosophies of love and Werther’s Weltschmerz; finds convincing musical links to the twentieth century, like the catchy platitudes of the rapper Olli P. and the emotional lives of teen fans, to an eloquent Wolfgang Hildesheimer, to great jazz groves and to Elvis the king, to the complex techniques of composition and the manipulation of sound from the avant-garde and from scratching deejays. The result—a rich and yet sensitive canvas composed of song, noise, singing saw, sound loops, electric guitars, record players, accordion, drums, and trombone—seems, not surprisingly, to be custom-tailored to the quartet DJ Cherubino. Svoboda’s fellow high-caliber musicians perform in their usual congenial way: the sensitively driving percussionist Michael Kiedaisch and the powerful yet discreetly virtuosic guitarist Frank Kuruc. For the first time in this show, the seasoned entertainer and bandleader Svoboda is offering his audience and himself a full-fledged female counterpoint. With the help of the formidable Canadian singer and hilarious noise maker Lou Simard, the musical and dramatic events seamlessly come together into an entertaining venture with elaborate imbroglios that evokes diverse associations.

Profundity and comedy, playful mirth, concentration of dialogue and ideas—all these things are equally important in the constellation of the DJ Cherubino quartet; it is a mixture that can be appreciated even by those audience members who perhaps expect only entertainment but may suddenly find themselves touched personally, thanks to the high quality of this richly facetted work and its inspired staging.

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