Sunday afternoon found me at Towson Unitarian Universalist Church for the season finale of Music in the Great Hall.
At the start of the program, Qing Li, principal second violin of the Baltimore Symphony, gave a fiery account of Beethoven's "Kreutzer" Sonata, sometimes sacrificing beauty of tone, but certainly getting expressive mileage from the intensity in her phrasing. She was ably partnered by pianist Adam Mahonske (I wouldn't have minded more tonal nuances from him, though).
The violinist and pianist were subsequently joined by cellist and BSO member Bo Li for
Schubert's divine E-flat Trio. I admired the vitality the players brought to the music, even if, as at the end of the first movement and in parts of the scherzo, the sound sometimes got a little heavy (I know Schubert isn't Mendelssohn, but there are moments in the trio that can handle lightness and delicacy). Bo Li's poetic shaping of the the melancholy theme that appears in the Andante and haunts the finale proved particularly effective.
The long-running Music in the Great Hall series will return next season with a five-concert lineup. Among the attractions: a chamber music program with clarinetist Anthony McGill (one of the starry quartet that participated in the Obama inauguration), cellist Amit Peled and pianist Lura Johnson (the artistic director of the series); a performance by Duo Transatlantique (classical guitarist Benjamin Beirs and Maud Laforest); and a concert celebrating the founder of the series, pianist Virginia Reinecke.
PHOTO OF QING LI BY NING FAN