New World’s downsized chamber program offers delightful Haydn

By Lawrence Budmen

Jospeh Haydn’s String Quartet in D Major, Op. 76, no. 2, was performed by New World Symphony members Sunday afternoon.

“Sound the Horn” was supposed to be the thematic thread of the New World  Symphony’s chamber music concert on Sunday afternoon but Andrew Bain, principal horn of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the program’s scheduled soloist, was missing in action. 

Michael Linville, director of chamber music, took the New World Center stage to announce that “due to circumstances beyond our control” a brief, 41-minute musicale would be presented, minus Bain and the scheduled works by Max Reger, Mozart and Richard Strauss he was to play with members of the orchestral academy.

To be sure, there was a horn on stage in the performance of Horseplay by Belize-born, British composer Errollyn Wallen. NWS horn fellow Kyle Thompson provided the dark undercurrent in Wallen’s mashup of Debussy, Stravinsky, minimalism, atonality, blues and pop influences. Originally written for the Royal Ballet, Wallen’s score is relentlessly propulsive and immensely appealing. Linville conducted the fourteen players in a rousing and muscular reading.

The abbreviated program’s real gem was a superb performance of Haydn’s String Quartet in D Major, Op. 76, no. 2. 

Fine traversals of quartet literature are common at New World’s chamber outings but this performance was considerably more. Under the terrific leadership of first violin Margeaux Maloney, the players equalled and even exceeded the efforts of many full-time professional quartets.

Combining tonal beauty, balanced timbres and an infusion of drama and vigor, the players had the full measure of this delightful work. The graceful patterns of the second movement and the rustic bonhomie in the Minuet and trio were dispatched with vigor and wit. Michael Turkell—who gave an outstanding account of the violin solos in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade under Marin Alsop in December—was a stalwart second violin and violist Peter Ayuso and cellist Victor Huls made fine contributions for a fully satisfying performance of this mature masterpiece by the father of the string quartet.

The New World Symphony presents chamber music by Joseph Boulogne, Germaine Taliefierre, Darius Milhaud, Stravinsky and Fauré with mezzo-soprano Ronnita Miller 2 p.m. January 30 at the New World Center in Miami Beach.

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Mon Jan 10, 2022
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