By Jim Lowe
MONTREAL — When Musica Camerata Montréal titled Saturday’s concert “Youth in Music,” it wasn’t talking about precocious children. Rather, it introduced young 20-something professional instrumentalists — and they were fine.
The star of the program was Montreal violinist Aaron Schwebel. In Brahms’ Sonata in A Major, Opus 100, for violin and piano, the young virtuoso played with natural musicality and lyricism. Unaffected and never drawing attention to himself, he played with warmth and perfectly reserved passion. Although he made some passages more important than they really were, Schwebel’s fine performance had a maturity that belied his age.
Schwebel was matched all the way, perhaps even guided, by Musica Camerata’s founding pianist. Berta Rosenohl played the grand piano part not only with clarity, expressiveness and power, but the authority of experience. She also had the advantage of playing on a particularly fine Italian Fazioli concert grand.
Musica Camerata Montréal, after two seasons at the Segal Centre, has returned to downtown Montreal. The intimate Chapelle Historique du Bon-Pasteur, 100 Sherbrooke near St. Laurent, not only has wonderful acoustics, the room is simply and elegantly beautiful. New also is the Saturday 6 p.m. start and the 90-minute without-intermission program, allowing for dinner and an evening out in Montreal.
Gustav Holst’s “Seven Scottish Airs” not only underscored Camerata’s penchant for unusual programming, it introduced two more fine 20-somethings, violist Amina Tébini and cellist Sarah Gans. They joined Rosenohl, Schwebel and violinist Luis Grinhauz, assistant concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony and Camerata’s artistic director, in an expertly played performance of this charming imaginative work. They also joined in an encore, a delightful waltz by British composer Samuel Coleridge Taylor (1875-1912), one of the few well-known African-American classical music composers.
Schwebel and Grinhauz delivered the virtuoso lines, joined by Rosenohl, of Benjamin Godard’s Suite, Opus 18, for two violins and piano, with skill and warmth. It was delightful schmaltz. The program opened with more virtuosity for two violins, Sonata in A Major, Opus 3, No. 2, by the French Baroque composer Jean Marie Le Claire. Schwebel and Grinhauz had great fun — as did the audience.
Musica Camerata Montréal
Musica Camerata Montréal will present “Three Styles,” featuring piano quintets by Dvorak and Frank Bridge, and “Oeuvre en creation” by Stewart Grant,” at 6 p.m., Saturday, April 5, at the Chapelle Historique du Bon-Pasteur, 100 Sherbrooke (near St. Laurent) in downtown Montreal. For tickets or information, call (514) 489-8713, or go online to www.cameratamontreal.com.MORE IN Central Vermont
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