norman lebrecht

September 01, 2023

Mambo to Mozart

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This is a delightful performance/documentary which grew out of a long-cherished dream of Sarah Willis, a young British French horn player with the Berlin Philharmonic. Her dream comes true here with a grand concert in which she performs with the young musicians of the Havana Lyceum Orchestra and conductor José Antonio Méndez Padrón, as well as a Cuban salsa mambo band. This is a musically irresistible encounter between musicians of different disciplines coming together in an exuberant combination of styles and cultures.

A joint celebration of Mozart as never before seen and heard, including works such as Mozart’s beautiful Horn Concerto No. 3 and lots of Cuban rhythms. Joyous original arrangements of Mozartian themes played by an irrepressible group of young Cubans who simply can’t help Mambo-ing to Mozart.

The director is Magdalena Zieba-Schwind who does a fine job expressing visually the joy the musicians find in each other and in the music, as well as the exceptional communication between conductor and soloist.

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