Review: Mozart played with clarity and sparkle

Greenville NewsFull Review

By Paul Hyde: November 21, 2015

Emperor Joseph II famously rendered a colorful assessment of Mozart’s opera “Abduction from the Seraglio.”

“Too many notes,” was his verdict.

Audiences, of course, have come to a much-different conclusion about Mozart’s note-count. The works of the genius of Salzburg remain perennially popular in the concert hall.

So, it comes as no surprise that music fans are packing the Peace Center’s Gunter Theatre this weekend for the Greenville Symphony Chamber Orchestra’s annual all-Mozart concerts.

One performance remains of the program, Sunday at 3 p.m.

Music director Edvard Tchivzhel drew crisp, polished playing in four works by Mozart at Friday’s opening concert, which included the Overture to “Seraglio,” the object of Joseph II’s scorn.

Tchivzhel brought a customarily brisk tempo to the Overture, a delightful piece with its sparkling orchestration that includes so-called “Turkish” instruments — triangle, cymbals, bass drum and rute. (The rute is a birch brush that’s extremely rare in orchestrations.)

That was followed by Tchivzhel’s vigorous account of Mozart’s Symphony No. 38, subtitled “Prague” for the city of its 1787 premiere.

Tchivzhel’s 35-member chamber orchestra delivered the work with clarity and transparency. The slow second movement, meanwhile, was gracefully rendered.

Tchivzhel, in his introduction to the piece, promised that the tempo of the third-movement finale would be “as fast as possible — and even faster.” He was true to his word, and the orchestra responded marvelously.

I had to miss the earlier portion of Friday’s concert due to a conflict. This weekend’s program also includes the composer’s Symphony No. 40 and Overture to “The Magic Flute.”

Tchivzhel is concluding the concerts with a mystery piece. The audience member who correctly guesses the name of the work gets free tickets to a future Greenville Symphony performance.

What’s the mystery piece? I’m duty-bound to offer no hints — but good luck!