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Mozart vs. Mozart

BPO cellist Feng Hew is a soloist at Sunday's Camerata di Sant'Antonio program.

Two popular chamber music series go head to head

What is a chamber music lover to do when faced with a choice between two concerts happening at the same time on the same day? On this Sunday, May 6, at 7pm, the Camerata di Sant’Antonio presents a program that opens with the ever- popular Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at St. Anthony of Padua’s Church behind Buffalo City Hall. At exactly the same time, the first concert in this year’s Chamber Music on Elmwood series offers an all-Mozart program at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Elmwood Avenue.

Christopher Weber, the music director of the Camerata di Sant’Antonio has a well deserved reputation for innovative programming that successfully juxtaposes very different kinds of music in the same concert program. While the BPO has programmed Mozart’s bubbling Eine Kleine Nachtmusik several times in the past, it has not done so for more than 50 years. In any case, the work is most effective when it is performed by a small chamber orchestra, such as the Camerata.

Felix Mendelssohn composed 13 string symphonies, or sinfonias, from the ages of 12 to 14. These delightful works were very much influenced by Mozart and, written for performance in the family household, they were not published or performed in public until long after the composer’s death. While the first six string symphonies had three movements, the four-movement form of the Sinfonia No. 7 in D Minor marks an important step in the composer’s development as a symphonist.

The always interesting music of the contemporary Italian composer Roberto Molinelli has appeared previously on the Camerata’s programs, and his Twin Legends for Violoncello and String Orchestra will make its US premiere on Sunday’s program, with BPO associate principal cellist Feng Hew as the soloist. According to the composer, the “twin legends” of the title refer to the “myth of Italian 20th century melodrama” as represented by the music of Puccini, and also to “the overwhelming impact of African-American music, jazz and blues,” on modern music, seemingly disparate elements that Molinelli has somehow managed to successfully combine in this exciting, virtuosic work.

Weather permitting, there will be champagne on the piazza before the concert, and as always a reception afterward. Tickets are $17. For more information, call 854-2563.

Chamber music on Elmwood

Ansgarius Aylward, assistant concertmaster of the BPO, is the artistic director of the Chamber Music on Elmwood series, which opens its 11th season on Sunday with a mostly Mozart program in the Unitarian Universalist Church. Alyward will be joined by his fellow BPO musicians Jacqueline Galluzzo on violin, Natalie Piskorsky and Valerie Heywood on violas, and Davis Schmude on cello for the String Quintet No. 3 in C Major, K. 515. Mezzo-soprano Melissa Thorburn and guitarist Richard Falkenstein will team up for a selection of songs by Mozart and Schubert. Interestingly enough, the program will open with a performance of Mozart’s Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, K. 498 (“Kegelstatt”), with Sal Andolina on clarinet, Valerie Heywood on viola, and Claudia Hoca on piano. Anyone who heard last Sunday’s performance of this all too infrequently performed gem, described by WNED radio host Peter Hall as both “mindful and engaging,” at the Friends of Vienna recital, played by clarinetist Katherine Jarvis, violist Janz Castelo, and pianist Alison d’Amato, will be in the enviable and rare position of being able to compare musical interpretations by two very talented groups of different musicians.

The next concert in the series, on Sunday, May 27, leans towards the baroque, with a program featuring works by Telemann and Handel, with some Schumann thrown in for good measure. Flutist Natalie Scanio will be joined by violinists Alyward and Galluzzo and harpsichordist Jane Cary in the Quartet in D Minor (“Tafelmusik II”) by Telemann, while Scanio and Carey team up for the Sonata for Flute and Harpsichord in A Minor by Handel. Pianist Phyllis East will then join violinists Aylward and Galluzzo, violist Heywood, and cellist Roman Mekinulov for a performance of Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44.

Mozart makes a welcome return in the final concert on this year’s series, when the members of the Clara Quartet—violinists Amy Glidden and Jacqueline Galluzzo, violist Kate Holzemer, and cellist Amelie Fradette—perform his String Quartet in D Minor, K. 421, while Galluzzo and pianist Claudia Hoca will perform Beethoven’s Sonata in F Major, Op.24 (“Spring”). As is often the case for this series, the most challenging work on the series will close the final program. Alyward and Galluzzo, along with violist Valerie Heyward and cellist David Schmude, will offer their interpretation of Beethoven’s epochal String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131, a pinnacle of writing for the string quartet that has arguably never been surpassed.

Tickets at the door are $20. For more information, call 883-3150.

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