By Ed Kliszus
The Punta Gorda Symphony celebrates the summer months with the Summer Chamber Music Series. This first concert of the series featured the String Quartet segment with violinists David Qi and Cindi Qi, violist Rafael Ramirez, and cellist David Calhoun.
The concert took place in the Florida SouthWestern State College Rush Auditorium on the Charlotte Campus.
For each musical selection, violist Rafael Ramirez introduced the works to be performed. Ramirez provided intuitive insights into each work’s provenance and features of which the audience might take note.
The first selection was W. A., Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major, K.135, Op. 11, Allegro, Andante, and Presto. The piece was crafted by Mozart in 1772 when he was sixteen years old. This delightful work and the other two from the collection of three divertimenti are sometimes called Mozart’s Salzburg Symphonies due to the grand scale and sheer genius of the music. The work presents significant technical challenges that were ably met by the ensemble.
The next selection was the pensive and sumptuous Andante cantabile from Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No. 1. In D major, Op. 11. The string quartet gently unfolded the work, untrammeled by time and space. Its rich sounds painted a scene
of a mellow smiling charm of an idyllic countryside. Whenever I hear Tchaikovsky, I am reminded of his kind patron Countess Nadezhda von Meck, who supported him financially so he could pursue his composition full time.
The quartet next tackled the Allegro and Andante con moto from Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D.810 (1824). Its nom de plume “Death and the Maiden” refers to its eponymous song of 1817. In the quartet, our lyric poet of music imbues echoes from his song throughout the work with its foreshadowing of death, melancholy, terror, pain, and resignation. The quartet met the challenges of this expansive work with its portentous themes and commensurate Sturm und Drang with aplomb and bravura.
Tchaikovsky returned to the stage with IV. Scene from the Swan Lake Suite, Op. 20a. This marvelous work is about the Rhenish Prince Siegfried wooing and winning Odette the Swan Queen. Marvelous violin and cello solos for David Qi and David Calhoun abound in the work with its hauntingly wistful themes.
After a challenging, colorful selection of works, the quartet traveled metaphorically to Vienna to perform Johann Strauss II’s Roses From the South, Op. 388. This was a delightful way to complete an apposite, well-proportioned summer concert. Bravo!
Runtime: 70 minutes with no intermission.
The Symphony continues its summer chamber music series with the Wind Quintet on August 13 and Flute Trio on September 10. For information about the summer series and the 22-23 season, go to this link or type https://www.pgsymphony.org/performances/. Readers may also enjoy our reviews of the Punta Gorda Symphony at the Charlotte PAC, The Orchestra of St. Lukes, and Art for the Sake of Art.