CONCERT ASSOCIATION OF FLORIDA
ZUKERMAN CHAMBER PLAYERS
PINCHAS ZUKERMAN/ JETHRO MARKS/
AMANDA FORSYTH/ JOEL QUARRINGTON
BEETHOVEN/ SCHUBERT/ ROSSINI (12-17-07)
By Lawrence Budmen
Chamber music is best heard in intimate spaces sot he Broward Centerí s Au-Rene Theater would not seem a compatible venue for small scale ensembles.
But, on Monday, the Zukerman Chamber Players (presented by the Concert Association of Florida) accomplished the seemingly impossible, turning the vast space into a sonorous chamber for wonderfully subtle and nuanced music making.
Beethovenís Septet in E-flat Major represents the lighter side of the Bonn master. Too often, performances of this score are raucous, musically blatant affairs. With violinist Pinchas Zukerman leading the ensemble, the players gave an ardently expressive, idiomatically understated reading that restored the scoreís artistic stature.
In a briskly vivacious, delightfully Vienesse traversal of the opening movement, Kimball Sykesí agile clarinet and Lawrence Vineís high flying horn solos were beguiling, their intonation remarkably clear and precise.
Four decades after winning the 1967 Leventritt Competition, Zukerman remains a musical wonder and a master of his instrument. He brought finesse as well as violinistic bravura to Beethovenís lovely divertisseme nt. In the Theme and Variations, Zukerman and violist Jethro Marks were a silvery toned duo.
Cellist Amanda Forsyth (Mrs. Zukerman) offered a brilliantly executed, ornate solo variation. In the Adagio, Sykes spun a meltingly beautiful cantabile line, supported by Christopher Millard, a superb bassoonist with a mellow, rounded tonal compass. More than the usual merry romp, the final Rondo was the epitome of sparkling 18th century entertainment music.
Forsyth and Marks opened the program with Beethovenís early Duo in E-flat Major (Eyeglass). Marksí big boned, zesty viola sound and Forsythís attentive musicianship brought stature to this lightweight essay.
Forsyth, Zukerman, and Marks joined forces for a gracefully spun version of Schubertís Trio No.1 in B-flat Major, the remarkably mature work of a 19 year old composer. Zukermanís silken tone and impeccable technique was the perfect conduit for Schubertís soaring melodies.
With double bassist Joel Quarrington joining Forsyth, Rossiniís Duo in D Major was a bubbly delight, a spirited contest between the two instruments. Forsyth and Quarrington carried off the feat with flying colors. The bass becomes a melodic instrument in the Andante molto, sharing a Haydnesque melody with the cello. In the finale, a typically quirky Rossini theme and crescendo challenge the instrumentsí bottom register. Quarrington turned the unconventional bass part into a display of high powered virtuosity.