DEER VALLEY MUSIC FESTIVAL, Utah Symphony Chamber Orchestra, St. Mary’s Church, Aug. 6; festival runs through Aug. 9, tickets at 801-533-6683 or 

Utah Symphony music director Thierry Fischer made his Deer Valley Music Festival debut Wednesday in a program of Mozart and early Beethoven, composers whose music certainly is suited to the intimate confines of St. Mary’s Church. A comparable program a week ago with guest conductor Matthew Halls worked wonderfully, and one could have expected the same result Wednesday. However, Fischer seemed to have forgotten where he was. His interpretation of the three works (Mozart’s overture to Lucio Silla and the Linz Symphony and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2) was explosive and overstated. He went for a big sound, and he certainly got it. It would have been fine in the large and acoustically suited Abravanel Hall, but in the church’s small space it was too much.

And Fischer’s penchant for fast tempos didn’t help either. Too frequently the music came across as muddled and undefined — very uncharacteristic for Fischer, who has developed the orchestra into a commendable ensemble for 18th century music.

There were a large number of subs playing Wednesday, and they did do a credible job with the three works, although their playing lacked the orchestra’s usual finesse and clean articulation.

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About Edward Reichel

Edward Reichel, author, writer and composer, has been covering the classical music scene in Utah since 1997. For many years he served as the primary music critic for the Deseret News. He has also written for a number of publications, including Chamber Music Magazine, OPERA Magazine, 15 Bytes, Park City Magazine and Salt Lake Magazine. He holds a Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He can be reached at Reichel Recommends is also on Twitter @ReichelArts.

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