Chamber Music Festival
'From Mozart to Miki'
American Colony Hotel
The concert hall itself proved a worthwhile discovery last week at an American Colony Hotel performance of the Sounding Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival, a two-week event featuring artists from Israel, the Palestinian territories and Europe. A small, audience-friendly venue reminiscent of a salon, the American Colony Hotel's concert hall creates an agreeable ambience and benefits from good acoustics - just right for a chamber concert for a relatively small crowd. One of the hotel's additional attractions is its large, pleasant terrace, which offered plenty of fresh air and a fine view over the city's rooftops during the intermission, making that part of the evening no less an experience than the concert itself.
The program's first section proved conventional, featuring Mozart's Piano Quartet in G Minor and four of Bruch's Eight Pieces for clarinet, viola and piano. Pianist Andrea Rucli gave the former piece a sound that was too robust, ignoring the somber, mysterious qualities intended for Mozart's works in a minor key. Bruch's Pieces, by contrast, floated on romance, mixing Andreas Schablas' sensitive clarinet, Vladimir Mendelssohn's elegant viola and Janna Polyzoides' discreet lead piano.
In the concert's less conventional second section, Minoru Miki's Night Tide for viola and piano achieved exactly the opposite of what one normally expects from the contemporary Japanese composer. The style was not nearly as modernist as a typical Miki piece, and therefore less likely to offend conservative ears.
Shostakovich's Piano Trio Op. 8 proved the concert's crowning glory, more cheery and optimistic than many of his other chamber works. The piece was performed with impressive skill by Polyzoides, Liza Ferschtman and Martin Hornstein.