Thursday, August 25, 2022

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

The Philadelphia Orchestra is residing in Edinburgh and this Mozart matinee featured players from its ranks, plus their pianist boss.

First, the Clarinet Quintet (K581), a decent-enough performance with Ricardo Morales as mellifluous clarinettist, but severely compromised overall by omitting the first-movement repeat, which seemed no more than parsimonious, this opener then dwarfed by the spacious slow movement, not quite the sublime miracle it can be, alas, followed by a ponderous Minuet and two Trios, and a livelier, suitably varied, Finale.

Philly’s music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin was on hand for K414, the wonderful A-major Piano Concerto (No.12), which works well with string quartet (as Mozart allowed for), plus on this occasion the double bass of Harold Robinson. YN-S sparkled at the keyboard without dominating his colleagues, as befits a salon performance, maybe a tad under tempo-wise for the first movement, but the slow one – veiled, intimate – went fathoms-deep in feeling, although the Finale was shapely if leaning to lethargy.

And that was it: quality before quantity every time, but this recital didn’t reach even an hour of music, and the quality came irregularly.

David Kim, violin
Juliette Kang, violin
Choong-Jin Chang, viola
Hai-Ye Ni, cello
Ricardo Morales, clarinet
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, piano