Les Délices


Mozart in Paris — including works by Boccherini, Gluck, and other contemporary composers

Mozart in Paris is a program for oboe and string quartet (on period instruments). Readings from Mozart’s own letters animate his time in the City of Light.

Mozart had expected to take Paris by storm in the spring of 1778, but things very much did not go to plan. Despite a successful premiere of his Paris Symphony (K297) at the Concert Spirituel on June 18 and a few other small commissions (concertos for flute, some ballet music), letters flew back and forth between Paris and Salzburg that made it clear that Mozart was flailing. Mozart felt misunderstood and his bad attitude was ultimately his undoing: a patriotic German through and through, Mozart openly antagonized the French and impugned French taste. He offended patrons left and right and refused to heed social etiquette; he even clung to excuses that Paris was too large, too filthy, and too expensive to get around in order to do the networking necessary to get ahead. Moreover, he took regular opportunities to insult his colleagues, who could otherwise have been championing Mozart’s music at salons and on concert series that they oversaw.

In short, those six months in Paris represented a critical, if difficult moment for the brilliant young composer. Les Délices’s program seeks to create a context for Mozart’s time in the City of Light by setting his beloved Quartet for oboe and strings (K.370) alongside composers whose music was all the rage: Quintets by Luigi Boccherini and Christoph Willibald Gluck are featured along with more unusual fare such as a string quartet by Giuseppe Cambini and a solo by the celebrated French cellist Jean-Louis Duport.

Les Délices (pronounced Lay day-lease) is “an early music ensemble with an avant-garde appetite” (New York Times). The group’s debut CD was named one of the “Top Ten Early Music Discoveries of 2009” (NPR’s Harmonia), and their performances have been called “a beguiling experience” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), “astonishing” (ClevelandClassical.com), and “first class” (Early Music America Magazine). Founded in Cleveland in 2009, Les Délices’s performances on period instruments allows them to explore a rich tapestry of tone colors. Les Délices has been featured on WCPN, WCLV and WKSU in Ohio, WQXR in New York, NPR’s syndicated Harmonia and Sunday Baroque, and had their debut CD featured on the Audio-guide for a special exhibit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (Watteau, Music, and Theater). Les Délices made its New York debut before a sold-out audience at the Frick Collection in May 2010, and has performed for Music Before 1800 (New York), Early Music in Columbus, and at Miller Theater at Columbia University in recent seasons.