Few musical experiences are as wonderful as fine performances of the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The Symphony of the Americas concluded its concert season on Tuesday night with outstanding traversals of two of the greatest scores by the wunderkind from Salzburg at the Broward Center's Amaturo Theater. As the evening's culmination and piece de resistance, Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat Major for violin and viola, K. 364/ 320d was given a performance of surpassing mastery by violinist Glenn Dicterow and violist Karen Dreyfus. (Dicterow, former longtime concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, and Dreyfus are husband and wife - a duo in life as well as art.)
Following Maestro James Brooks-Bruzzese's vigorous leadership of the opening orchestral tutti, the duo's entrance was smooth and silken in sonority. Dicterow's tone is still sweet and distinctive, his bowing vigorous. Dreyfus' large sound and more restrained approach dovetail perfectly with the deeper timbre of her instrument. As the graceful second subject's curves of melody resounded, the Dicterow-Dreyfus duo exemplified Mozart stylists of the most patrician manner. The extended cadenza demonstrated their virtuosity and musicality in equal measure.
Dicterow phrased the dark-tinged theme of the second movement Andante with eloquence and Dreyfus' mahogany sonority was finely matched to the music's emotional depth. They were always perfectly in sync with the mood and tenor of one of Mozart's most beautiful creations. In the concluding Presto, their vigorous attack brought out the principal melody's high spirits and effervescence. Dicterow and Dreyfus' collaborative immediacy had all the hallmarks of the most intimate chamber music playing. Their flawless articulation extended even to passages in their instruments' highest reaches. Brooks-Bruzzese and the orchestra were full partners in joyous music-making of the highest order. A well-deserved standing ovation greeted the performance.
On the concert's first half, Maestro Brooks-Bruzzese and the ensemble gave a buoyant performance of Mozart's Symphony No. 38 in D (Prague), K. 504. This is one of only three Mozart symphonies that have a slow introduction. Brooks-Bruzzese brought out the timpani and percussive weight beneath the graceful arches and launched into the ensuing Allegro with zest. The secondary subject emerged with more spacious contrast. The Adagio was, appropriately, the heart of the performance. Both the broad spans of melodic lines and darker undercurrents were compellingly conveyed. Prominent wind writing was assayed with spot-on clarity, Marco Key-Navarrete's oboe playing a standout. A final Presto sparkled with taut élan, capping a fine reading of one of Mozart's final symphonic masterpieces.
Two overtures completed the concert's bill of fare. Solemn brass fanfares commenced Mendelssohn's Ruy Blas Overture, Op. 95. Unison strings breezed through the agitated allegro section and the warm corporate sound of the cellos alighted the lyrical secondary theme. Brooks-Bruzzese led a brisk and rousing account of this late Mendelssohn curtain-raiser to a tragic theatrical play by Victor Hugo.
Rossini's Overture to La Cambiale di Matrimonio was all fizzy comic opera sparks. The opening horn solo was rendered with rounded tone and precision. Strings were all snap in the jaunty principal melody and Navarrete's oboe and Karrie Griffiths' flute were well balanced in the Rossinian coloration. Brooks-Bruzzese built up the big crescendo skillfully. The entire program offered great music, performed with dedication and high artistic standards.