A lesson in passionate music-making from Concert Artists of Baltimore
a) Baltimore is fortunate to have several quality music ensembles beyond the main attraction, the BSO;
b) intensely committed, vividly expressive music-making is rewarding to experience, even if it is not at a Vienna Philharmonic level technically;
and c) Concert Artists of Baltimore routinely delivers impassioned, involving performances, thanks to founding artistic director Edward Polochick.
Saturday night's program at the Peabody Institute was devoted to lushly romantic works, including Tchaikovsky's well-worn Serenade for Strings.
Polochick succeeded in giving that familiar music a jolt of fresh energy and poetic intensity. The slow movement, in particular, was superbly sculpted to extract the maximum sentiment, without getting sentimental.
The players responded with admirable discipline and nuance; the pianissimo close of this movement was achieved most tellingly.
The strings ...
The full orchestra took the stage after intermission for Brahms' Double Concerto, featuring the ensemble's concertmaster, Jose Miguel Cueto, and principal cellist, Gita Ladd. Both have been with the ensemble since its beginning 25 seasons ago.Polochick signaled from the opening tutti that his was going to be an all-out, no emotion-barred account of the deeply lyrical piece. With her first entrance, Ladd did the same; her plush tone and extrovert phrasing dominated the performance. Cueto did what he could to make his presence felt, but his comparatively slender sound and sometimes not-quite centered notes limited his otherwise attractive work.
The orchestra encountered a few rough patches, but largely rose to the occasion with terrifically vivid playing to cap a consistently rewarding night of music.
PHOTO (by Richard Anderson) COURTESY OF UMBC