A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

The April 29 closing program of the LA Phil Chamber Music Society cut across a wide range of Mozart styles and featured some unique offerings from his wind repertoire.

Flutist Elise Shope opened the concert with a lively splash with her crisp version of the Flute Quartet in D, K. 285. Shope was superb; her technique was flawlessly superhuman, and her tuneful lightness and graceful spirit were innately personal. Minyoung Chang’s violin and Carrie Dennis’ viola gave a rich soma to the sound, while David Garrett added a delightful feel with his cello, so much so, that at times I found myself empathizing with his energetic touch. He caught my attention from the very first notes, and he and Shope were delightful together.

The String Quartet No. 19 in C, K. 465 rounded out the first half of the program.  Violinist Lyndon Johnston Taylor was assertive and emotive, and his dynamic pushed the ensemble.  The others in the quartet included Ingrid Chun on violin, Meredith Snow playing viola and cellist Barry Gold. The group bonded exquisitely together to bring Mozart’s heady “dissonance” to a perfect balance. The opening harmonies were intensely moving.

The Wind Serenade in C minor, K. 388 was fun. The players ran with Mozart’s use of some pure wind-instrument techniques in his orchestration. The horns were sublime and fused the ensemble into a cohesive organ. Oboists Marion Arthur Kuszyk and Carolyn Hove were of one mind in their duos, and overall Kuszyk was a bright star in the evening. Clarinetists David Howard and Michele Zukovsky were stellar. Shawn Mouser and Michele Grego provided much of the energy of the ensemble with Mozart’s motorific bassoon writing. Last but not least were the horns: Andrew Bain and Gregory Roosa were outstanding. They blended beautifully together and seamlessly with the woodwinds to provide a luxuriously full texture. Bain was particularly on topic — he can soar! As a chamber music hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall holds up well in spite of its volume, and although it is difficult for a small ensemble to sound “large” in such a massive space, the Serenade was the most effective, effectively buoyed by the horns.

The closing work was String Quartet with String Quintet in D, K. 593, With Stacy Wetzel and Chao-Hua Jin playing violins, Minor Wetzel and Hui Liu playing violas, and Jason Lippmann on cello. The extra viola made a difference, and the violas and cello worked well together to keep the sound full. The later K. 593 Quintet was a nice complement to the K. 465 Quartet and the Serenade, K. 388.

Bravo to all of the Los Angeles Philharmonic artists and to the Chamber Music Society for bringing a unique perspective on Mozart to Walt Disney Concert Hall. An evening well spent!

~Theodore Bell/CultureSpotLA

For information about upcoming concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall, visit www.laphil.com.