Beethoven: Serenade in D Major, Op. 8
Mozart: Divertimento in E Flat Major, K. 563
On my last day in Prague, good timing gave me the opportunity to indulge not once, but twice in live classical music. The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra had been planned for a while, but the city had turned out to be an endless source of concerts in churches and other informal venues, and the Beethoven-Mozart double bill presented by a local string trio in the historical Church of Saint Nicholas on the Old Town Square was just too good to pass. The setting was just lovely, all white walls with discreet black ironwork and gilded decorations, the colorful paintings being relegated to the ceiling. The concert's organizers were obviously taking the audience's enjoyment seriously because at starting time, the doors were closed and nobody else was allowed in, thus preventing any disturbances by casual visitors or late-comers.
Beethoven's serenade, by turns playful and romantic, rose beautifully in the serene environment. It was such a pleasure to finally be able to hear truly inspiring music in such optimum conditions! A nostalgic whiff of my recent wonderful stay in the Austrian capital came and stayed as the musicians did wonders channeling the Viennese master.
Not to be outdone, Mozart's divertimento was Prague's adopted son at his finest, all intricate melodies and refined entertainement. My busy schedule may not have allowed me to see the famous puppet show of Don Giovanni, but at least I got to enjoy a full-scale work by its composer, and I was happy to settle for that.