L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato

The Mark Morris Dance Group at the Mostly Mozart Festival on Thursday, August 5.

I knew there was a reason I kept attending performances of Mark Morris’s choreography. Even when a particular work didn’t click for me, I always saw something intriguing there—the musicality, the pared-down aesthetic—and now I’ve finally stumbled across a Morris work I love passionately and wholeheartedly. In L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed it Moderato, all the characteristics of his style that I dislike fade into the background, and the traits I admire move to the forefront. And despite the fact that it’s a long nonnarrative, two-act work, it’s never dull. L’Allegro is a gorgeous mosaic—with funny, playful passages and sad, delicate passages; subtle, thoughtful passages and joyful, exuberant passages—and all the disparate little tiles somehow fit together with perfect coherence, becoming more beautiful and revealing new truths in one another’s company.