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WCO: Mozart, Vivaldi, Haydn
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Program
Mozart: Overture to The Impressario, K. 486
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Haydn: Symphony No. 101 in D Major

Performers
Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
Suzanne Beia, violin
Andrew Sewell, conductor

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The Union Theater was about 3/4 full for the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra's kickoff "Concert Off the Square," an impressive showing of support. Unstinting applause rewarded the players and their new music director, Andrew Sewell, who conducted a fine program, very well played, of works by Mozart, Vivaldi and Haydn.

Violinist Suzanne Beia showed considerable technical prowess, great passion and delicate nuances in her performance of The Four Seasons, by Vivaldi, a set of four concertos for violin and strings, each portraying the character of a season (spring, summer, autumn, winter) in three movements. One of the nicest features was Beia's tasteful embellishment of the solo line in slow movements, an expected mark of a player's originality in music of the Baroque era. Violin section intonation was fairly good. Harpsichordist Max Yount and cellist Elizabeth Elliott offered stylish continuo playing.

Mozart's Overture to The Impressario, K. 486, opened the program with lively tempos and clean articulation. Haydn's Symphony No. 101, the "Clock," made up the second half. Sewell, conducting without the score, made the most of Haydn's wonderfully suave orchestrations, some startling harmonies and delightful musical playfulness. This symphony is truly a masterpiece, which came through clearly in Sewell's reading, with good tempos and fine dynamic management. The work has a full wind band, with two each horns, trumpets, flutes, oboes, clarinets and bassoons augmenting the 21 string players, so the full-orchestra sound was actually quite large, even slightly on the raucous side, which I suspect was Haydn's intention.

All things together, it was a very successful concert. WCO general manager Robert Sorge told me at intermission that subscriptions are doubled over last year, which must be music to his ears as well. The concert was dubbed "Beginnings," and I thought that's exactly what it was, a very good beginning for new concepts, fresh energies and renewed enthusiasm.

Isthmus, September, 2000
Copyright 2000 Jess Anderson




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