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Baltimore Chamber Orchestra closes season in charming fashion

Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

The charm quotient proved quite high as the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra wrapped up its season Sunday afternoon at Kraushaar Auditorium.

The program’s first half centered around a 17-year-old guest artist, Yaegy Park, who stylishly handled the solo duties in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 and Sarasate’s “Zigeunerweisen.”

The Houston-born Park won her first competition at the ripe age of 4 and went on to earn several more prizes and further her studies at Juilliard. On the evidence of this appearance, she appears to have what it takes to develop a strong career.

She revealed a mellow, well-supported tone and a knack for nuanced phrasing in the Mozart score, sculpting the cadenzas with particular spark. Markand Thakar provided attentive partnering on the podium; the orchestra did sturdy, nicely balanced work.

With its heart string-pulling gypsy melodies that give way to unbridled dance rhythms, the Sarasate score remains an irresistible masterpiece of its kind (OK, irresistible to me). Park approached its technical demands with calm focus and, for the most part, pristine results, while also impressively underlining the lyricism. She again enjoyed smooth support from conductor and orchestra.

The Serenades by Brahms do not get the attention of his symphonies, but they should. The velvety instrumentation of No. 2, which leaves out violins, trumpets, trombones and percussion, is as notable as the composer’s elegant themes. Thakar’s relaxed approach emphasized the Mozartean charms in the work and yielded supple playing from the ensemble.

The BCO’s five-concert 2017-2018 season will mix standards with off-the-beaten-path fare. The latter includes music by overlooked 20th century composers Dag Wiren and Nikos Skalkottas.

The Bernstein centennial will be observed with a performance of his “Serenade” featuring the orchestra’s former concertmaster Madeline Adkins. Jazz-inflected compositions by Stravinsky, Milhaud and Copland will be the focus of one program.

An all-Mozart bill is also on the schedule. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 will share a concert with the Cello Concerto by the BCO’s composer-in-residence, Jonathan Leshnoff. By the way, Daniel Hass, the soloist in the Leshnoff piece, is the winner of the 2016 Stulberg International String Competition; Park won that competition the year before.

For more information, call 410-685-4050, or go to thebco.org.



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