Mozart Concert At Hollybush Festival

Posted: May 21, 1988

The Hoboken Chamber Orchestra peeked at Mozart through an 18th-century keyhole in its all-Mozart concert Thursday at Glassboro State College. But by the second half of the Hollybush Festival concert, the viewpoint had widened.

For Mozart's D-minor Requiem, the combined choruses of the college joined the small orchestra. The singers blasted out the unison passages with the emotional fire of a young group, yet they had been trained so well in rehearsal that conductor Gary Schneider kept the emotionalism from seeping over the performance's edges.

The musical teamwork resulted in an inspired performance, restrained enough to let the piece rest in the century of its origin (the 18th), yet emotional enough to occasionally glance back at Mozart from the Romantic pinnacles of the 19th century.

The quartet of soloists - soprano Lila Deis, mezzo-soprano Erika Van Wyke, tenor Neil Breeden and baritone Peter Lightfoot - seemed to lift the standards of the performance. In ensemble passages, the quartet was enriched by the inner voices, Breeden and Van Wyke, which dripped with character and richness.

To start the concert, Schneider, the orchestra's founder, steered the 37- piece ensemble through a smooth, unruffled overture to Cosi fan tutte. The orchestra played carefully, keeping the music's untroubled surface clear.

But the balance of the ensemble was off. Risers were in place for the chorus that would come on later, and the stage seemed like a rectangular box. The strings projected well, but the audience could hardly hear the ruffles in the oboe, flute and horn near the beginning of the piece.

The same was true in the Concerto in E-flat major (K. 365) for two pianos that followed the overture. Soloists Yoheved Kaplinsky and Veda Zuponcic projected their sound, but again, the winds were overwhelmed. The

interpretation was, again, precise and correct.

The firm legato and precise ornamentation used by both pianists was appropriate. Their styles were matched precisely; when they took turns ornamenting each other's notes in the second movement, they sounded like one pianist.

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