by John Paul Keeler
for Hudson-Catskill Newspapers
Friday, November 23, 2012
Bard’s Concordium Wind Ensemble came to the Presbyterian Church on Warren Street as part of the 2012-13 season of the ClaverackLanding Music Series. It was an evening of golden sound featuring Greg Drilling and Alex Meyer oboes, Noemi Sallai and Molly Wyric-Flack clarinets, Josh Hodge and David A. Nagy bassoons, Ferene Farkas and Jimmy Haber horns, along with Bence Botar double bass and pianist Frances Lee.
Music for wind instruments was the rage in late 18th Century Vienna. These itinerant musicians could be found on the street corners in the gardens and outside the palaces throughout the city serenading the citizens. Mozart was getting ready for bed on his name day when he heard in the courtyard the first chord of his serenade for winds and he jumped from his bed to enjoy and reward the musicians. Mozart’s operas were so popular that arrangements for wind instruments from these works were played all over town. The gorgeous “Overture to the Abduction from the Seraglio” began the program with sparkling sound and stunning energy and humor. Next came the rarely heard “Partita in F Major op 57” of Franz Krommer (1759-1831). This delightful four movement work put the players through their paces with infectious joy. The first half of the program ended with Beethoven’s only Quintet for Piano and Winds in E flat Opus 16. The quintet is modeled after Mozart’s “Quintet K452” of 1784. Like Mozart, this quintet was the only one Beethoven composed for winds and piano. It is a festive work spilling over with beauty and poetry quite normal for Beethoven the 22 year old genius. The young musicians took to the piece as a fish to a hook. In the midst of glorious wind sound, Frances Lee at the piano was simply brilliant in this exciting performance.
After intermission came Mozart’s “Sonata for Two Bassoons K292” performed by Josh Hodge and David Nagy. The work might have been a study for a concerto for Bassoon. Although the piece delightfully played seemed somewhat slight, it is important to think of Mozart’s incomparable writing for the bassoon in all his wind works symphonies and operas. In his biography of Mozart, Sacheverli Sitwell declares “No other composer has ever understood the qualities of individual instruments as did Mozart.” He goes further saying, “When Mozart writes for the bassoon it is like a sea-god speaking.”
The concert ended with “Overture and Arias from the ‘Magic Flute’ of 1791”. This wonderful wind octet was the high point of a fabulous concert. The Overture though truncated sounded grand. the Bird Catcher’s Song was infectious delight and the humming scene with Papageno’s mouth locked up didn’t need words to project its great message. The beautiful scene of the magic flute in action was ravishing and the final scene for Papageno and his finally found Papagena brought the audience to their feet. One was delighted in the beauty of the church and glad they ripped the old carpet from the floor revealing the splendid wood and adding greatly to the acoustics for music in the church. the reception following the concert at the beautifully restored Rowles Studio on Warren Street was a food and beverage delight and wonderful time of conversation with the artists and their audience.