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A student postlude performance was not in any way anticlimactic. The quirky Charleston movement from a work for flute, clarinet and piano by American iconoclast Paul Schoenfield mixed dissonance with nostalgia in an appealing manner. Violinist Jae-Won Bang (a firebrand from Los Angeles' Coburn Conservatory of Music) led an edgy, incisive traversal of the opening Allegro con spirito from Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence. More choice Dvorák brought the final two movements of the Czech master's lovely Wind Serenade in D minor, Op 44, played with superb articulation, remarkable clarity of texture and blazing lyricism. Oboists Geoff Sanford and Alison Chung (both from Rochester's Eastman School of Music) and clarinetists Benjamin Davis (from the University of Michigan) and Brian Gnojek (a freelancer) were especially impressive in the winding roulades and mesmerizing melodies of this wind masterpiece.

A renowned Mozart scholar, Festival director Levin took center stage for the Salzburg genius' Quintet for Piano and Winds in E flat, K452, at the 14 June 2008 concert. Playing with bright, nimble pizzazz, Levin brought elegance and dazzling showmanship to Mozart's graceful keyboard writing. Mozart considered this score one of his best pieces and it was hard not to agree when played with such verve by the pure toned, homogeneously balanced wind ensemble of Vogel, Neidich, Morelli and Wekre.

Webern's String Quartet (1905) comes from the composer's pre-atonal period. The spirit of Mahler (particularly the mood of the 9th Symphony and the final song of Das Lied von der Erde) seems to haunt this poignant, emotional score. Often the music speaks in a whisper. Violinist James Buswell (a faculty member at Boston's New England Conservatory), Agostini, German based violist Barbara Westphal and Greensmith played the score with exquisite shading, achieving the most dulcet of pianissimos.

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Copyright © 19 June 2008 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA


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