For Art’s Sake

Tuesdays at Eight, with members of the Music Academy

At the Lobero Theatre, Tuesday, July 25.

Reviewed by Gerald Carpenter

The concert opened with Wolfgang Mozart’s ineffably sweet
Oboe Quartet in F Major, K. 370, played by David Weiss,
oboe, Kathleen Winkler, violin, Donald McInnes, viola, and Alan
Stepansky, cello. With the possible exception of the Clarinet
this is my favorite of all Mozart’s chamber works,
and this group’s reading rivals the four recordings I have of

Talk about “and now for something completely different”! Martin
Wesley-Smith’s White Knight and Beaver for Trombone, Marimba,
and Tape
 — superbly rendered by Mark Lawrence (trombone) and
Michael Werner (percussion) — was about as different as you could
get. Still, for all its eccentric time signatures and odd noises,
it was full of nifty tunes and even tenderness, and I would very
much like to hear it again.

Béla Bartók’s Contrasts for violin, clarinet, and piano, BB
, also has its share of eccentricity, but in the hands of
Jeff Thayer (violin), Fred Ormand (clarinet), and Jerome Lowenthal
(piano), the Hungarian’s penchant for irritating mischief was kept
to a minimum, and his ability to charm and entertain was

Georges Enescu’s Legend for Trumpet and Piano started
the second half. As played by Paul Merkelo (trumpet) and Anne
Epperson (piano), the piece was engagingly folksy and gloriously

The Takács Quartet went a long way toward redeeming itself from
the lackluster pall its recent concert cast on my spirits with the
support of Epperson in performing Antonín Dvořák’s Piano
Quintet in A Major, B. 155, Opus 81
. Dvořák likes to use the
piano percussively — even in his piano concertos — as a vehicle for
abrupt shifts of mood. Witness, in this Quintet, how the
wonderfully lugubrious, heart-on-sleeve opening theme is snatched
away from us, before we can properly settle in, by an extended rush
of arpeggios. Then back to an even grander statement of the
melancholy theme, then off we go again. The fact that this was
accomplished with tremendous élan and seamless coordination by
Epperson and the Takács Quartet paved the way for a remarkable
musical experience.


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