Concert Review: 'Tel Aviv Soloists'

The season's opening concert presented a minor program: all the performed works were in a minor key.

Tel Aviv Soloists Sergio Azzolini, bassoon Barak Tal, conductor Beit Shmuel December 21 The season's opening concert of the Tel Aviv Soloists Ensemble, conducted by Barak Tal, presented a minor program: all the performed works were in a minor key. Although this is not usually a recommended practice, in this case the dramatic character of the program and the diversity of instruments counter-balanced the somber atmosphere. Soloist Sergio Azzolini played his bassoon - a bass instrument without bass force, in the words of Thomas Mann - in Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's Bassoon Concerto with delightful elegance and dazzling virtuosity in its fast movements, and with lyrical expression in the slow one. Tal injected invigorating and refreshing energy into Mozart's Symphony No. 25 and, finally, also into Haydn's concluding Symphony No. 52. There was nothing that sounded conservative or taken for granted in Mozart's often-performed work. It was brought to vibrant life in the period's exciting "Storm and Drive" spirit. Articulation was clear, and rests were held deliberately just a little over their count value to let tension mount. Tempi were brisk but not hurried, and the score's middle parts - that in many standard performances often sound muddy in the orchestral din - were altogether transparent. Appealing though it sounded with its abundant diverse tone colors, Zelenka's Symphonie à 8 Concertanti contributed mainly to the program's length. Its inclusion prevented the concert from ending with a feeling of regret that it was already over.