Review by David Richards
Tafelmusik celebrated Mozart’s 260th birthday with a joyful celebration, at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, in Toronto. The February 25th performance was its second of four concerts entitled ‘The Best of Mozart’. The Toronto Symphony had begun the January 27th birthday festivities with the the Jupiter Symphony in January, and a semi-staged production of the Mozart Requiem, as part of the Mozart@260 Festival. And The Canadian Opera Company carried on the celebrations with a production of The Marriage of Figaro. Tafelmusik’s concert included two of the most well-known and beloved of Mozart’s instrumental works, Eine kleine Nachtmusik and Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, with his Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola in E-flat Major between the two. The orchestra, led by guest director, Romanian violinist Mira Glodeaunu, gave spirited and dynamic interpretations of each of the works. Glodeaunu is one of several guest directors Toronto audiences are enjoying this season while the search for a new Artistic Director continues. As the leader of numerous European period orchestras, and as a soloist and passionate chamber musician, she has the credentials for the job. Last night she demonstrated that she could transfer her passion and leadership to this world-renowned orchestra.
In the opening Serenade in G Major, more popularly known as Eine kleine Nachtmusik, the familiar melodies of each of the four movements were joyful and celebratory. The initial chord and subsequent arpeggio was a stunning opening to the concert. Having tuned off-stage, the orchestra took hold of the audience and never let go. The piece is as often heard with a large string orchestra as it is with just five soloists. Tafelmusik, with 17 strings had the sonority of a larger orchestra at times, while always maintaining the sensitivity of the nuance of musical line characteristic of a fine chamber ensemble.
Julia Wedman, violin, and Stefano Marcocchi, viola, both members of the orchestra, displayed their virtuosity in a stylistically meticulous and inspiring interpretation of The Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola in E-flat Major. Composed in 1779, shortly after Mozart’s trip to Paris with stops in Leipzig and Mannheim, the work contains the elements of the popular French form with melodious and dazzling displays for the soloists. With the work’s robust orchestration and seamless interplay between soloists and orchestra, Mozart took a popular French form and transformed it into high art.
The final work of the programme, Symphony 40 in G Minor, is perhaps Mozart’s most widely loved and influential instrumental work. Completed just two years before his death, it is the pinnacle of his achievements in orchestral writing. The orchestra left the audience feeling the greatness of this masterpiece and of the master himself whose 260th birthday is certainly worthy of a first-class celebration. Tafelmusik definitely rose to the occasion!
Review by David Richards