The Times of London called her “The Blind Enchantress” – Austrian composer and musician Maria Theresia von Paradis (1759 – 1824), who hobnobbed with Maria Antoinette and George III, inspired works by Mozart, Salieri, and Haydn, and dazzled audiences with her singing and piano playing – all while completely blind!
One of our springtime concerts by our Heifetz Ensemble in Residence was titled “Mystics, Muses, and Mothers,” devoted to works either written or inspired by notable women, both real and fictional. HEIRee and Violinist Yezu Woo led off the concert with a pair of works by Austrian composers separated by more than two centuries. Beginning with the affecting Siciiienne by one of the most fascinating female artists of the 18th century – the blind composer, pianist, singer, and socialite Maria Theresia von Paradis. Yezu is joined in this performance by pianist Michel-Alexandre Broekaert.
Next on Yezu’s Austrian playlist was one of the most captivating melodies ever to come from the pen of Austo-American composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold. As the New York Times puts it, “You can count Korngold (1897-1957) among the artists whose fame has ebbed and flowed over the past century—swept up in the tides of academic taste, the rise and fall of governments, and the willingness of opera companies to think beyond familiar classics.” Korngold’s music and reputation is on an upswing of late, and “Marietta’s Lied” (the violin-and-piano version) is a wonderful introduction to the composer’s “whole Viennese sound spectrum beginning with late Mahler, early Berg, which Korngold certainly serves but absolutely proves his own individuality in every note.”
Soprano Marlis Petersen and tenor Jonas Kaufman singing “Glück, das mir verlieb,” (“Joy, that near to me remained,”) from a recent production of Korngold’s opera Die Tot Stadt, which has enjoyed a remarkable renaissance in stagings in the past few years.