Music Reviews : Concordia Orchestra at Gindi Auditorium

If Concordia Orchestra conductor Masatoshi Mitsumoto had any ideas about the music he led Sunday in Gindi Auditorium, he kept them well to himself.

In a program of Bach, Mozart, Bloch and Miklos Rozsa, Mitsumoto for the most part seemed content to beat time without shaping lines, exploiting secondary voices or directing the music toward any particular goal.

He also had the annoying habit of stomping his heels for special emphasis or for cuing the ensemble, which inaccurately suggested that the players were somewhat inept. For their part, however, the 31 instrumentalists mostly played cleanly, directly, acceptably.

In Bach's Concerto in D minor for Two Violins, Mitsumoto emphasized vigor over expressivity, with the soloists, both 18-year-olds, providing contrasting rather than matched tone production. Elisa Barston marshaled plushy, dark sounds, compared with Isabella Lippi's bright wiriness.

Similarly, the conductor's driving approach brought, at its best, forcefulness and energy to Mozart's Symphony No. 29 in A, but otherwise robbed the work of its sparkle and charm.

Originally composed for violin and orchestra, Rozsa's "North Hungarian Peasant Songs and Dances" presumably gives the soloist opportunities to offset the diffuse, generalized lushness with piquant colors and rhythms. But no such chances seemed exploited by guitarist Gregg Nestor, who adapted and played the violin part conscientiously but, perhaps because of the amplification, without creating much individual profile.

The most satisfying playing came in Bloch's Concerto Grosso No. 1, from the vivid opening declamations to the atmospheric musings, invariably marred, however, by Mitsumoto's amorphous phrasings. The final fugue, in particular, went by as so much purposeless chuffing.

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