By Lawrence Budmen 

A Mozart divertissement and a Schubert swan song comprised the bill of fare at the Mainly Mozart Festival concert on May 15 at the Colonnade Hotel in Coral Gables. These two works for diverse chamber forces are both rich in thematic and formal invention. Both were given deeply felt performances.

Mozart’s “Quartet for Flute and Strings in D Major,” K.285 is one of that genius’s most delightful confections. Sparkling themes fill the outer movements while the Baroque tinged melody of the central Adagio is one of Mozart’s truly sublime creations. Flutist Christine Nield-Capote played with lithe, elegant verve and silvery tone. Her shaping of the Adagio was finely etched. Her exquisite playing was given lively support by violinist Scott Flavin, violist Pamela McConnell, and cellist Ross Harbaugh – members of the Bergonzi String Quartet. The wonderful dialogue between flute and strings was elegantly articulated. A wonderful performance of a Mozartean gem! 

The great “String Quintet in G Major” is one of the remarkable chamber works from Schubert’s final year. The sheer emotional depth in this score brings to mind Beethoven’s late quartets. Yet Schubert’s melodic inspiration is as potent as ever. Even as it plumbs the depths of despair, this score sings an endless stream of inspired melodies. 

Flavin, McConnell, and Harbaugh were joined by first violinist Glen Basham and cellist Laura-Jean Deming for an intense, dramatically vibrant performance. The spacious tempo of the opening Allegro ma non troppo allowed the music to unfold organically – without overt interpretive embellishments. The musicians’ shaping of the glowing second theme was perfectly gauged – really aristocratic. The Adagio was deeply moving. The players gave this glorious music just the right dramatic ebb and flow. A rousing version of the Presto gave way to an appropriate Andante sostenuto central episode – here given unusual weight. Vienesse lilt infused the Allegretto finale – a joyous conclusion to a powerful musical experience. A few instrumental blemishes aside, this was a wonderful performance with especially strong playing from cellists Harbaugh and Deming.

The combination of festive Mozart and introspective Schubert was inspired. Once again the Mainly Mozart Festival brought together diverse instrumentalists for fine performances of important scores by the greatest composers of chamber music – a festival of riches! 

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