NOTE: This programme will be repeated on Tuesday May 21st at 7:30 PM at Alice Tully Hall.
Sunday May 19th, 2013 - For their final Tully Hall concerts of the 2012-2013 season, Chamber Music Society chose an All-Mozart programme. It's always an extra pleasure when the music you are hearing dovetails nicely with the book you are reading: I just happen to be finishing MOZART'S LAST ARIA by Matt Rees as this CMS concert looms up on my calendar.
The three works heard today were written within a five-year period (1782-1787) and they remind us of the "what-might-have-been" works that Mozart might have penned had his life not tragically ended at such a young age. Mr. Rees' book deals with the composer's death and the mystery that surrounds it. I saved the last chapter to finish in conjunction with today's concert.
The programme offered a generational mingling among the players, with the established greats of the chamber music world being joined by younger artists in each of the three works. Thus the lovely young pianist Seyeon Kate Lee took the central role in the opening Trio in B-flat Major, playing with Society headliners Ani Kavafian (violin) and Timothy Eddy (cello). Ms. Lee, in a ravishing deep-midnight gown, produced shimmering tone and wafted the work's melodic cascades into the house with deft assurance. Ms. Kavafian and Mr. Eddy played with scrupulous musicality and grace.
Of the musicians, it was Mr. Eddy who had the busiestevening, playing marvelously in all three works. In the E-flat Major Horn Quintet, the youthful violinist Benjamin Beilman maintained a rapport with his viola counterpart, Lily Francis. Paul Neubauer lent his distinctive artistry in this unusual configuration which calls for two violas rather than two violins.
Radovan Vlatkovic (above) took center stage for the Quintet; his velvety timbre and polished technique making me regret that I put my horn aside after high school. It's such a heartfelt sound, and as Mozart weaves the strings around the central melodies intoned by Mr. Vlatkovic I fell into a nostalgic reverie.
Timothy Eddy opened the concluding Quintet in C-Major with a fanfare-like phrase; he, Mr. Beilman and Ms. Francis played nobly. In the work's andante, Ms. Kavafian and Mr. Neubauer established a dialogue of motifs that seemed to presage the era of operatic bel canto. In the allegro finale - sumptuously played by the ensemble - this longish work suddenly seemed to be hastening all too swiftly to its end.
Chamber Music Society provides a perfect haven for music lovers, drawing audiences that have a serious craving for great music. Not only is the level of playing superb, but the ambiance of Tully Hall is the perfect temple in which to experience such artistry: spacious enough for the music to envelop us but so intimate that we can read the musicians' expressions and watch with delight their subtle inter-actions. The Society's 2013-14 season is full of promise - read about it here.
Soyeon Kate Lee, piano; Benjamin Beilman, Ani Kavafian, violin; Lily Francis, Paul Neubauer, viola; Timothy Eddy, cello; Radovan Vlatkovic, horn