by Samantha Spaccasi
Reinberger Chamber Hall at Severance Hall hosted the penultimate concert of ChamberFest Cleveland’s sixth season on the evening of June 30. It was the first ChamberFest experience for my family, who were visiting from the Washington, D.C. area. I told them they were in for a treat and they weren’t disappointed — the musicians delivered a wonderful performance.
The concert began with Richard Strauss’s “String Sextet” from Capriccio. First violinist Josef Špaček and first violist Teng Li played especially well, trading phrases beautifully. Li displayed her deep but playful tone while Špaček precisely emphasized passages for the greatest emotional impact. Second violist Yura Lee was perfectly in sync with Li, both producing gorgeous, velvety sounds. Second violinist Diana Cohen played brightly, while first and second cellists Julie Albers and Oliver Herbert grounded the piece with clarity, never overpowering the other voices.
Pianist Zoltan Fejérvári joined Cohen and Herbert for Schumann’s Piano Trio No. 3 in G. The musicians exchanged the melody seamlessly, with Cohen and Herbert playing with drama and depth. Though the piece is somewhat slow moving harmonically, Fejérvári kept it lively with a textured and colorful performance, easily changing moods from refined elegance to subtle spookiness. Cohen played with precision and energy and Herbert interpreted the more difficult passages with artistry. This trio was a powerhouse.
After intermission, violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti joined Lee, Špaček, Albers, and Li for Mozart’s Quintet for Two Violins, Two Violas and Cello in E-flat. The musicians performed with zest and passion, but never too delicately. The formidable viola team of Li and Lee played triumphantly. Albers’ bouncy playing held the work together with excellent intonation and a warm, smoky tone. Schwartz Moretti demonstrated great command of the music and her instrument. Her crystal-clear tone emphasized the work’s various emotions — playing softly with texture and nuance in the tender parts and vigorously in the intense, dramatic sections. The quintet sounded as if they had been playing together forever.
As for my family? They were understandably blown away by the skill of the musicians. Like many who attended ChamberFest concerts this season for the first time, they fell in love with the Festival.
Photos by Margy Adams.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com July 5, 2017.
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