In performance: Vienna Chamber Orchestra
Entremont brings Vienna's charm to Strathmore
by Cecelia Porter
Think Vienna, think music. The Vienna Chamber Orchestra came to Strathmore on Sunday, bringing some of the glistening sound and music of that illustrious city to Bethesda. The group was established immediately after World War II as part of a musical resurgence amid an Austria in ruins. A distinguished pianist, the French conductor Philippe Entremont, now 75, led the musicians in Mozart's "Haffner" Symphony No. 35, K. 385; his Piano Concerto No. 20, K. 466 (with Entremont as soloist), and Haydn's "London" Symphony, No. 104; this year marks the bicentennial of Haydn's death.
(read more after the jump)
Though written a few years apart, Mozart's 20th concerto and his opera "Don Giovanni" share an uncanny sense of sinister foreboding. The concerto's outer movements press onward with ominous restlessness, the Romanze awash in its own turbulent urgency. Entremont nailed Mozart's kaleidoscopic succession of moods, while underlining the engaging, even jovial, dialogue between piano and orchestra, and doing so with surprising delicacy.
In the Allegro of Mozart's K. 385, Entremont also managed to underscore the seeming incongruity of a military parade atmosphere spiked with brass and timpani, side by side with the scurrying buffoonery of the composer's comic opera style.
In Entremont's hands, each movement of the Haydn served up a distinct character. The opening declaimed, then yielded to whimsy. One couldn't miss the Andante's stinging dissonance, while the closing movements were sheer country dance music. A cheering audience won two gemütlich encores of Vienna's signature waltz: Johann Strauss Jr.'s "On the Beautiful Blue Danube" and Strauss Sr.'s "Radetsky March."
-- Cecelia Porter
November 24, 2009; 6:09 AM ET
Categories: local reviews
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