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Music Review : A Generous Serving of Mozart

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Delivering on its once-a-season promise and the inherent mandate of its title, the Mozart Camerata performed a Mozart program on Sunday. Led assuredly by the group’s founding conductor, Ami Porat, the ensemble was persuasive enough to suggest that any perceived sins of over-saturation during the bicentennial of Mozart’s death four years ago have been forgiven. Mozart, it turns out, is relatively forever.

The locale was St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, a spacious box of a venue with glass ceilings allowing dramatic views of the skies. And as the late afternoon turned from dark to light, so went the music. Opening the proceedings, the Overture to “Le Nozze di Figaro” was taken at a brisk and almost nervous clip, hurtling past potential pockets of grace.

Taking up the second half, the tempestuous Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550 became a vehicle for the Camerata’s polish and prowess. This late opus, leaning in the wind toward Romanticism, is a chestnut with a cause. The orchestra neatly telegraphed the inherent mixed emotions of the piece, yearning, as it does, for a way out of its own brooding demeanor.

In between came the generously scaled Piano Concerto in E-flat, K. 482, neatly articulated in both its buoyancy and its moments of stately melancholy.

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Unfortunately, while the chapel’s vaulting space was acoustically kind to the orchestral forces, it tended to smudge the definition of pianist Daniel Shapiro’s performance, which was a shame: Shapiro has an innate grasp of this material, and he played with purposeful nuance.

When presented with this degree of focus and commitment, large, concentrated doses of Mozart can’t hurt at all.


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