With a heat index of 125 outside, the air conditioning offered by Meyerhoff Hall Saturday night was at least as pleasing as the all-Mozart program of the Baltimore Symphony in the second of its Summerfest concerts.
Nevertheless, the Mozart was very good indeed, particularly the performance of the Double Piano Concerto in E-Flat (K. 365) with the pianists Claude Frank and Lillian Kallir that concluded the program. Though married to each other, Frank and Kallir have always led separate careers as soloists and their approach to the keyboard -- Frank's more thoughtful, Kallir's more brilliant -- is quite different. It was exactly this quality that helped make their performance so winning. There was a splendid interplay between the two artists, with each responding to the other in the most engaging ways. With beautifully matched sounds, their approach produced the appropriate sunshine in the work's vivacious outer movements and sensitively explored the play of light and shade in andante.
Conductor Jaime Laredo and the orchestra supplied fine support.
The concert opened with a performance of the composer's somewhat overlong Concertone in C (K. 190) for two Violins, in which Laredo took the first violin part and conducted the orchestra and BSO concertmaster took the second violin part. As Janet Bedell observed in her program note, this work is less a double concerto than a concerto grosso, with important parts for oboe and cello, in the style of J.C. Bach.
The playing by the orchestra, violinists Laredo and Greenberg, and BSO principal cellist Mihaly Virizlay was excellent, but what really made the work seem shorter than usual was the sensuous contribution by the orchestra's principal oboist, Joseph Turner.
The first half concluded with Laredo's reading of one of Mozart's greatest teen-aged works, the Symphony No. 25 in G Minor (K. 183). Orchestra and conductor were persuasive in the outer movement, which were finely detailed, crisply articulated and gave the music a somewhat bigger scale than usual.
But -- at least to this listener's ears -- the slower movements were not quite able to support the conductor's weightier, expressive approach.
The second half of the program began with the Adagio in E Major for Violin and Orchestra (K. 261), which Laredo performed with his usual warmth, intelligence and sweetness of tone.
Summerfest continues Wednesday with a program of Strauss waltzes and polkas conducted by David Lockington.