Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 13, 2010

Mozart and Strauss

Tanglewood, Lenox, MA
July 11, 2010
by Debra Tinkham

A beautiful Berkshire Sunday afternoon commenced with Maestro Rafael Fruhbeck De Burgos conducting Mozart's "Serenade No. 6 in D Major", know as the "Serenata nothurna." This "Serenade" featured Malcolm Lowe (violin), Haldan Martinson (violin), Steven Ansell (viola) and Edwin Barker (bass viol); Lowe being the Concertmaster and the latter three being principal performers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO).

"Marcia: Maestoso" is, as implied, a march, which made for a good beginning and end. "The Menuetto" was a graceful solo grouping, and the fast "Rondeau" happened to be the longest of this short, three movement Serenade, composed by Mozart at the age of twenty.

Mozart's "Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major" - always a good key for Mozart, featured soloist Pinchas Zukerman, who made his Tanglewood debut in 1969. A seasoned, talented violinist, violist and conductor, to name a few of his accomplishments, stepped up to the plate for this three movement "Concerto". "Allegro aperto" (opening) was witty, with wonderment of how many tunes he gathered together to make this work. Throughout, there was a wonderful blend of balance between strings and woodwinds. "The Adagio" started as a recapitulation already introduced in the Allegro, not unusual for Mozart's wit and element of surprise. "Tempo di menuetto - Allegro" (a fast waltz) echoed back and forth between marching dynamics to "ballerina delicacy."

Richard Strauss' "Ein Heldenleben" (A Hero's Life) in three movements, described and questioned the hero. Who is this hero? Strauss? Or, who is the hero's companion? "The Heroe's Battlefield" portrayed his triumphal return in musical renditions of the beginning. This long and complicated poem questions his "Works of Peace," incorporating such familiars as "Don Juan" and "Don Quixote" themes.

Finally, "The Heroe's Escape From the World" and "Fulfillment" ended the program with a lovely English horn solo. Michael Steinberg, a BSO reviewer stated it best with, "…an ending of marvelously individual sonority, and one that at least touches fortissimo."