The final episode of “M*A*S*H” aired nearly 2 decades before they were born.
But 5 Staples High School musicians played Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A, K. 581, flawlessly last night.
They played it far better, in fact, than the 5 Chinese musicians who made it famous, in the “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” episode that Alan Alda co-wrote and directed. With over 100 million viewers that night, it remains the most-watched finale of any American television series ever.
Carrie Mascaro’s students were at the Westport Library last night, as part of Alda’s “Booked for the Evening” appearance. In the middle of Cynthia Gibb’s introduction — as she noted his many “M*A*S*H” accomplishments — the Staples quintet struck up the piece that struck such a chord with Major Charles Winchester.
It still affects anyone who has ever seen that stunning final episode.
And why did Alda pick that particular piece to weave into his finale?
He met his future wife Arlene more than 60 years ago. She’s a professional clarinetist — and she was playing that very same beautiful Mozart melody.