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MUSIC REVIEWS : Mozart Camerata Celebrates Composer’s 233rd Birthday

Ami Porat led his Mozart Camerata on Sunday night in the group’s traditional celebration of Mozart’s birthday--the composer was born 233 years ago Friday. An enthusiastic audience filled less than half of the auditorium at Santa Ana High School.

Contrasted with the provocative selections of Porat’s past programming, which this season has included lesser-known works by Rossini, Dittersdorf and Wanhal, there were few surprises in Sunday’s Mozart fare. Nevertheless, the three works presented were given appropriate attention, making a tasteful, concise program.

Israeli violinist Sergiu Schwartz brought an abundance of nuance and warm tone to the Violin Concerto No. 5, gliding through the melodic passages with breathtaking control. Although his presence might have seemed a bit timid--even when the music demanded him to be extroverted, such as in the Turkish section of the last movement--Schwartz mesmerized, capturing the right amount of brilliance and elegance.

Porat carefully managed his forces, with a special, almost undue emphasis on accents and releases. Nitpickers might have noticed a mild lethargy in the second movement and a quicker-than-usual minuet. But the crispness of the repeated notes and fast sections played in perfect unison produced a satisfying accompaniment for the soloist.

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The second half of the program was devoted to an umpteenth performance of the “Jupiter” Symphony, No. 41. Taking all the repeats, Porat approached the warhorse with a stately grandeur that never bogged down or was stuffy.

The Overture to “Der Schauspieldirecktor” opened the evening with a wonderful, multifarious texture of melodic fragments, perhaps best displaying the talents of this prodigious chamber ensemble.


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