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Chamber orchestra charms

Rare Hungarian music,


The music of Ferenc Farkas (1905-2000) may not resonate beyond his native Hungary, but deserves greater international exposure. When an artist brings to light some wonderful music that is rarely performed, there is cause for rejoicing. That is exactly what conductor James Brooks-Bruzzese did on 3 August 2003 at the Miami Beach Community Church, USA, when he led Hungary's Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra in the Aria e Rondo alla Ungherese by Farkas. The concert was presented by the Miami Beach Cultural Arts Alliance as part of the Symphony of the Americas Summerfest 2003.

Farkas was a student of Italian composer Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) and his music was greatly influenced by his teacher. It was not the flamboyant, over inflated side of Respighi (The Pines of Rome,Roman Festivals) that appealed to his Hungarian student. Farkas found inspiration in Respighi's lovely orchestral elaborations of seventeenth and eighteenth century Italian music (The Birds, Ancient Airs and Dances). Aria e Rondo alla Ungherese has the instrumental mastery and classical elegance of Respighi's suites but with the strong scent of Hungarian paprika added to the musical mix. This two movement suite is an utter delight. The music could not have found more persuasive advocates than Brooks-Bruzzese and the Hungarian musicians.

The Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra is a first rate ensemble. This sixteen member string orchestra plays with silky elegance and brilliant virtuosity. The group's artistic director and concertmaster Peter Kovats is a formidable violin virtuoso. If this orchestra always plays on the same superb level as it did at this concert, it may be one of the best string orchestras in the world today. Brooks-Bruzzese is music director of Fort Lauderdale's Symphony of the Americas. He is leading the Hungarian orchestra on a lengthy tour of Europe, Central and South America as well as numerous cities in Florida.

The Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra
The Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra

Brooks-Bruzzese also programmed another delightful rarity -- the Concertino in D major for Flute and Orchestra Op 107 by Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944). This very French bonbon combines elegant, languorous melodies with virtuoso pyrotechnics. Marilyn Maingart, principal flute of the Symphony of the Americas, played this Gallic charmer with a sweet, pure tone, beautiful musical line, and elasticity and brilliance in the florid ornamentation of the Presto finale. Her star turn deservedly brought down the house. Brooks-Bruzzese gave her stalwart support and the orchestral playing was gorgeous.

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Copyright © 14 August 2003 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA


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