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Delirious Mozart at Bard

Music review
by Stephen Kaye
Mon Nov 21st, 2016

The third in a Sunday afternoon series of an all-Mozart program revealed how different players give personality and excitement to this music that we think of as all too familiar.  We heard surprises, elegance, wit and joy.  

Students Tianpei Ai on violin and pianist JongSun Woo gave a workmanlike yet uneven performance of Mozart’s Violin Sonata in F major. The piano was too strong for the violin voice which struggled to assert itself while capturing the delicacy of this early work.       

Excitement was generated by Benjamin Hochman, a faculty member who played piano in the Piano Trio if B-flat major with elegance, grace, and attention to detail, while retaining a suppleness and attentiveness to his companions, so as not to over- do it.  His companions who participated in this lively conversation were faculty members Robert Martin and fifth-year student Matthew Woodward.  The piano set just the right tone and pace.  What I liked was the sense that we here hearing four voices: the left and right hands of the pianist could be heard as two voices, so carefully was Hochman’s phasing and dynamics.  The effect was uplifting.

As in prior concerts of this series, we heard a piece written for four hands transcribed by Peter Serkin for instruments.  For this concert, he arranged the Sonata in B-flat major for each two oboes, bassoons, clarinets, horns and a single bass.  What a perfect combo and what fun this all-student group had, tossing the ball around!  Everyone had a chance to solo.  We heard good clear voices from all.  We complement Jihyun Kim and Alessandro Cirafici on oboe, Caitlin Beare and Kristyna Petiskova on clarinet, Adam Romey and Gabrielle Hartman on bassoon, Claire Worsey and Liri Ronen on horn and Andrew Behrens on double bass. The pace was perfect; the effect was joyful. I had the feeling that Mozart would be delirious that someone had the insight to find such charming cleverness in his four-hand piece