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Music Review : Joyous Evening With Mozart, Cardenes

July 11, 1986|KENNETH HERMAN

SAN DIEGO — Under the baton of San Diego Symphony concertmaster Andres Cardenes, Wednesday's all-Mozart San Diego Pops concert was as much an evening with Andres as it was the advertised "Evening with Amadeus." If Cardenes' pops patter was less than eloquent--his best line was calling Mozart the Steve Martin of composers--and his conducting ungainly, his violin bow redeemed everything.

The program's centerpiece was Mozart's G Major Violin Concerto, which Cardenes delivered with his customary assurance and polish. Not even the damp night air of Hospitality Point could mar his brilliant cadenzas or sodden his lyrical flights. Cardenes' performance of the Mozart was elegant without appearing fussy, robust without sounding overbearing. His broad phrasing kept a highly energized sense of direction in proper classical balance. The orchestra followed him amiably and mirrored his enthusiasm for the piece.

Earlier on the program, Cardenes was joined by acting concertmistress Karen Dirks in the first movement of Mozart's rarely played Concertone for Two Violins and Orchestra, K. 190. The piece sounded like a concerto grosso in which a pair of solo oboes played second fiddle to the featured violin soloists. While it is a curious and not terribly profound piece, it demonstrated how compatible and pleasing Cardenes and Dirks can be in such a role. Music Director David Atherton is overlooking a delightful pair of soloists--right under his nose--if he fails to program these two orchestra members together in some future winter concert.

During the past season, Cardenes conducted on several occasions when he played a solo concerto. This was his first time, however, conducting the local orchestra without his violin in one hand.

Leading his colleagues through such snappy fare as the overtures to "The Marriage of Figaro" and "The Abduction From the Seraglio," Cardenes looked like he was giving a demonstration of aerobic conducting. Bending, nodding, jabbing the air with his left hand, he engaged in quite a workout, to which the orchestra responded warmly and, fortunately, with less exaggeration than Cardenes' conducting manner.

Although the orchestra's usual number was decreased because of the requirements of this all-Mozart program, the ensemble sounded vital and full. Woodwind solos in a single movement from Symphony No. 25 in G Minor and an excerpt from the "Posthorn" Serenade for winds alone again proved the elegance and sophistication of these dependable sections of the symphony.

Concluding fireworks exploded to the sounds of the famous "Rondo ala Turka" arranged for orchestra. This program can be heard at Hospitality Point tonight and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a free "Amadeus" program at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Seaport Village.

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