Concert Review: Mozart and Mendelssohn

Israel Sinfonietta, Beersheba Arts Center, January 30.

Israel Sinfonietta
Beersheba Arts Center
January 30
The chief interests in this light classical concert at the Sinfonietta were the guest conductor and soloists. Brislav Skanderovitch (Serbia) offered us a chance to see what music makers are doing in a part of the Baltic that has often been overlooked West.
Skanderovitch looks like a lion on the podium, with a huge mane of flowing curly hair. He brought spunk to Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 in G minor and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F, leading with a bright and energetic optimism. He is an authoritative and skillful maestro and his conducting style is tempo-guisto-vigoroso. He drew a strong and clear resonance from the Sinfonietta with a muscular precision that tends to overwhelm more subtle aspects of fancy and poetic nuance.
The soloists in this concert were a clarinet duo – twins born in Israel in 1992 – Daniel and Alexander Gurfinkel. What a treat! Their performances of Mendelssohn’s Concert Piece No. 2 for two clarinets, Op.114, and Max Bruch’s Concerto for clarinet and viola in E minor, Op. 88 (arranged for two clarinets) were riveting – elegant in presentation and overflowing with energy. But most of all was the unity of phrasing. It is doubtful that any other combination of two individuals could sound so much as one. They are at that peak of youthful enthusiasm and technical mastery that so rarely comes together on the concert stage.