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Organist David Dunlap was soloist in Handel's Concerto in F major for Organ and Strings Op 4 No 4. He commanded a large sound from the electronic console and brought a fine sense of Baroque style to the music. Dunlap was particularly effective in the grandeur of the Bach-like conclusion of the Presto. He was given strong support by conductor and orchestra. The resonant acoustics of the church (a Miami Beach landmark) provided the perfect ambience for Handel's music. (This composer's concertos for organ and instrumental ensemble were written to be performed in a church acoustic.)

Mozart's Divertimento in F major K138 is one of the composer's most inventive works for string ensemble. The central Andante flows with graceful melody. The finale is particularly imaginative with its lively themes and varied structure. This score is a Brooks-Bruzzese specialty. (He has recorded the music with the Budapest Chamber Orchestra.) He conducted it with flair, brio, and real Mozartean style. The string playing was rich and brilliant.

Conductor and orchestra caught the operatic aura of Rossini's sparkling String Sonata No 2 in A major. The Andante sang like an instrumental bel canto aria. The opera buffa twists and turns of the Allegro finale were played with wit and Italianate elegance. A real musical gem! The opening Sinfonia No 3 in G major RV149 by Vivaldi featured virtuosic solos by violinist Kovats. The echo effects in the finale were dispatched with clarity and spirit. The String Symphony No 10 in B Minor by Mendelssohn (in an edition by Hellmuth Wolff and former Florida Philharmonic principal bass player Lucas Drew) is all inspired romantism. The music is filled with beautiful melodies and brilliant string writing. Brooks-Bruzzese led a large scale, dramatic performance, abetted by the orchestra's dark, warm string sound.

This concert was a model of imaginative programming. The rare opportunity to hear the music of Ferenc Farkas and Cécile Chaminade made the concert special. The Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra provided a delightful summer treat!

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



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