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Music Reviews : Chamber Society at Chapman College

The Southland may have been battered by rain and the city of Irvine struck by a tornado on Thursday, but music evoked mainly clear skies and scenes of spring at a concert by members of the Southwest Chamber Music Society at the Salmon Recital Hall, Chapman College in Orange.

The players offered a typical program of music calling for various instrumental combinations--in this case four works, ranging from a solo piano piece by Stravinsky to a quintet for winds by Villa-Lobos.

Apart from some problems in voicing octaves and passages of rapid hand-crossing, pianist Albert Dominguez conquered the virtuoso challenges of Stravinsky’s Three Scenes from “Petrushka"--a showpiece the composer wrote for Artur Rubinstein--with security and panache. Dominguez played with cushioned tone and bright, precise rhythm, as needed.

Flutist Dorothy Stone, oboist Stuart Horn, clarinetist Michael Grego, bassoonist Leslie Lashinsky and hornist Jeff von der Schmidt failed to make an equally persuasive case for Villa-Lobos’ “Quintette en Forme de Choros,” however.

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Whether because of periodic imprecision and reticence on the part of the individuals, or the composer’s failure to unify the alternating episodes of pulsing chords and sustained, reflective passages convincingly, the result was an uncertain sense of forward drive and structural purpose.

Stone and Dominguez had opened the program with a bracing account of George Antheil’s quirky Flute Sonata, evoking bucolic expansiveness in the first movement, slightly cockeyed waltz rhythms in the second and genial, chattering dialogue in the third.

Horn, Lashinsky and Dominguez played Poulenc’s Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano with buoyancy, comic wit and songful musing, bringing especially crisp articulation and flair to the minute fanfare close.


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