BEETHOVEN FESTIVAL PARK CITY, Temple Har Shalom, July 27; festival runs through Aug. 11, tickets at the door or at www.beethovenfestivalparkcity.org
Sunday’s Beethoven Festival Park City concert gave the sizable audience in Temple Har Shalom a chance to hear two seldom played works: Igor Stravinsky’s Concertino and Manuel de Falla’s Concerto for Harpsichord.
First on the program was the Concertino, in an arrangement by the late Utah composer Ramiro Cortés for harpsichord (Pamela Jones), violin (Manuel Ramos), viola (Leslie Harlow), cello (Cheung Chau), flute (Lisa Byrnes), oboe (Robert Stephenson) and clarinet (Russell Harlow) — an ensemble that worked quite well for this piece.
The seven players gave a rhythmically vibrant and well crafted account that captured the dynamics of the instruments in both solo and ensemble contexts. It’s a tricky piece that requires deft and nimble playing by the group and they acquitted themselves marvelously. They played with finesse and polish and conveyed the character of the one-movement work, with its pungent harmonies and neoclassical framework, with conviction and impressive technique and musicality.
The same group, without Leslie Harlow, also played de Falla’s challenging concerto. The work is written on a grand scale, and the sextet played with large gestures and broad expressions. It was a bold performance that brought out the work’s intricacies of rhythm as well as its well crafted instrumental interplay. The players once again exhibited stunning ensemble play as they shaped each of the three movements and played with a consummate sense of lyricism and expressiveness. It was a nuanced and wonderfully crafted interpretation that did justice to the work.
Between these two Jones played a couple of short pieces: Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonata in C major and Giovanni Dettori’s Lady Gaga Fugue, written in 2011 in the style of a keyboard fugue by J.S. Bach.
The concert concluded with a spectacular reading of Claude Debussy’s String Quartet. Ramos and Chau were joined by violinist Monte Belknap and violist Leslie Harlow, and the four gave a beautifully crafted, expressive account that was wonderfully nuanced. There was passion and emotional depth in their reading, and the expressions were finely articulated and executed. This was a masterful interpretation that captured the evocative character of the work as well as its dynamics and vitality.