NEWPORT BEACH — Mendelssohn's E-minor violin concerto may have provided the centerpiece of the Mozart Camerata's program Saturday night at St. Andrew's Church, but Schubert's Symphony No. 3 emerged as the gem.
Closing the final concert of the Camerata's 1990-91 season, the symphony underscored the strengths on which music director Ami Porat has built his orchestra's reputation--precision, balance, and the ability to communicate an idea. These qualities made for a fresh, joyful reading of the youthful work (written when Schubert was 17).
Clarinetist Jim Foschia contributed a bucolic lyricism to the Allegretto while the duet by oboist Cheryl Foster and bassoonist Charles Koster embodied the gentle Landler quality of the Minuet (not listed in the printed program).
The soloist in Mendelssohn's concerto was violinist Sergiu Schwartz, whose virtuosity appeared so comfortably secure that even the whirlwind passages of the final movement--which left the orchestra scrambling to keep up--seemed not to pose a risk. Unfortunately, risk taking (or at least the illusion of it) can inflame a performance. Schwartz may not have brought hair-raising excitement to the piece.