* Notes *
New Century Chamber Orchestra opened a series of performances entitled "Mastery of Schubert" in Berkeley yesterday evening. They began with Bach's Violin Concerto in E major, with NCCO's music director, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, as soloist. Salerno-Sonnenberg has a very peculiar motor pattern, and seemed to be brimming with energy. The piece was played vibrantly, with dramatic contrasts in dynamics. This was followed by 4 Schubert Lieder arranged by Clarice Assad and sung by soprano Melody Moore. Moore sounded clear, her pure high notes are warm and unconstrained. It was especially interesting to compare the two settings of "An den Mond." The orchestra fell readily into the background. The performance ended with Mendelssohn's Octet in E-flat major, played by the 18 musicians present. The playing here was not overly romantic, in fact, lacking prettiness, but again, very driven. The first movement in particular had much fire, despite the heavy rain that was audible on the roof of First Congregational.
* Tattling *
There was minor whispering. An electronic device went off between the first two movements of the Bach. There was slight confusion during the Schubert, as the first piece was listed last in the program.