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MUSIC REVIEW : Weiss Duo Closes Chamber Series

Imaginative programming is seldom the hallmark of summer concerts, particularly outdoors. It has been at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, however, where the Weiss Duo Monday gave the third and final concert of the Los Angeles Philharmonic-sponsored chamber music series.

Walton’s 1950 Sonata is a quirky, two-movement vehicle for heated abstraction. It makes vague points with passionate relish, in a sort of rhetorically impressionistic style.

Violinist Sidney and pianist Jeanne Weiss supported Walton’s diffuse music with considerable eloquence, particularly in the more introspective variations of the second movement. They have recorded the piece and bring obvious affection and well-practiced team-work to the work. But the results proved stubbornly underwhelming Monday.

Chavez’s 1924 Sonatina is much more articulate, and provided the duo with fully realized opportunity for direct, serious communication. The Philharmonic concertmaster brought interpretive nobility and technical flamboyance to the task.

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For all the violinist’s strength in urgent sentiments and virtuoso flourishes, it was the Andante cantabile movement that succeeded best in the Opus 18 Sonata by a young Richard Strauss. There the Weisses combined in quiet instrumental song of pointed, unexaggerated charm and sophisticated color.

Mozart’s comparatively innocent Sonata in C, K. 296, received lithe, blithe, eminently stylish playing from Jeanne Weiss. Her husband’s effort sounded rather square, however--sturdy, but truly comfortable only in the sweetly poignant middle movement.

Elegant lyricism was the Weisses’ strength, as they proved again in their Rachmaninoff encore, “Daisies.”


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