Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has been called a prodigy and a musical genius, but he is not the only Classical composer to earn the title of a genius.

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December 2 and 3 the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra performed the music of two musical geniuses with a program titled Mendelssohn and Mozart. The concert also featured the music of Ravel, a guest conductor, and a guest performer.

Guest conductor Andre Raphel revealed to the audience in a pre-concert discussion that he began by playing the trombone – because nobody else wanted to play it – but it was Andre Previn and the way he connected with his orchestra and the audience that drew Raphel to conducting.

Raphel and the BPO opened the concert with “Le Tonbeau de Couperin” by Maurice Ravel.Le Tombeau is a Classical composition that was inspired by Baroque dances that was originally designed to be a work for piano solo, but after serving time in the military during World War I, Ravel chose to use the piece as a tribute to fallen colleagues and composed it as an orchestral work.

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French violinist Armoud Sussman joined the BPO for a performance of the “Concerto in E minor for Violin and Orchestra” by Felix Mendelssohn. Sussman’s performance brought the artist out for three bows and an encore performance of the third movement from the Partita for solo violin.

After the intermission, the BPO returned fro a performance of Mozart’s “Symphony No. 41 in C major, K 551”. The work in four movements is also known at “The Jupiter”.

As a conductor Raphel movements sometimes were delicate and even made his hands appear to flutter like a bird and at other times his moves were sweeping movements that included his entire body. But no matter what movements Raphel make, they were precise and interesting to watch.

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