Chamber Energy High Even Outside Vermont

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Since 1951, the green hills and winding lanes of Marlboro, Vt., have provided the backdrop for a summer chamber music festival that has recharged the batteries of many a young or senior musician. And if the latest edition of Music From Marlboro, the touring arm of the festival since 1965, is any indication, the juice is still flowing.

Indeed, the high-energy output of Hiroko Yajima (first violin), Min-Young Kim (second violin), Nicholas Tzavaras (cello) and alternating violists Sang-Jin Kim and Brian Chen sometimes produced whoops of delight from the audience at Schoenberg Hall Thursday night--which you don’t hear too often at chamber music concerts.

In this hall, the young musicians’ huge collective sound seemed a bit loud and coarse-grained for the Haydn String Quartet, Opus 20, No. 2, with a middle-period-Beethoven fullness in the unison passages. But their vitality was well-suited for the remaining works by Hindemith and Mendelssohn.


The generic title Quintet for Clarinet and Strings masks a jolly, invigorating, extraordinarily clever bit of writing from Hindemith’s brash late 20s, where the finale is an exact backward replay of the first movement and the weird fourth movement finds the solo clarinet sounding just one deadpan note at the bottom of its register. Clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein played both B-flat and E-flat clarinets with lusty abandon as the strings attacked Hindemith’s busy passages with big-boned gusto.

With both violists at work in Mendelssohn’s String Quintet, Opus 87, the ensemble’s luxurious tone sometimes resembled that of a chamber orchestra. But the vigorous tempos and attacks kept things moving.