Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mostly Mozart, 2011

Iván Fischer
I just stepped in from my first Mostly Mozart concert of the season. I do not know who programmed the Ave Verum Corpus, Symphony KV.551, and Vespers de Confessore into one concert, or why, but the evening was terrific. The utmost credit to Iván Fischer. The Ave Verum was delicate and affecting and the final symphony came to glorious life. Jupiter's first movement fugato was especially vigorous yet never bombastic. Well-balanced forces brought out Mozart's extraordinary writing for winds and interplay between strings and winds in the allegro cantabile. The winds were especially beautiful in their fleeting moments of the menuetto.

With finely articulated rhythms and crisp fugatos Fischer brought out the ecstatic energy of that famed last movement. So much, in fact, that one acutely sensed the counterpoint keep the whole affair from bursting apart even as it amplified the energy by way of synthesizing the themes. The contrapuntal coda pushed the whole experience over the top, as it should. A most stirring performance of the symphony.

Lucy Crowe
Soprano Lucy Crowe made her Mostly Mozart debut tonight with Mozart's second set of vespers, proving she's not just at home in Baroque, Classical, and Romantic opera and oratorio but Viennese sacred music too. She brought a delicacy and restraint to the potentially operatic writing, gently covering the wider intervals of the Laudate Dominum and even the octaves of the Magnificat. Fischer's rather swift tempo for the Magnificat took away some of its heraldic grandeur but Crowe let that "Et Exultavit" out and Mozart's lively rhythms were in good hands for a spirited finale.

Last but not least, James Bagwell and the Concert Chorale of New York did a fine job with all of the counterpoint and Latin, especially the great and grave fugue on Laudate Pueri.

This concert, the Mostly Mozart debuts of both Fischer and Crowe and one of the few all-Mozart concerts of the festival, was a great success.

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