For a concert ending the 6-week run of the Park City Music Festival, this finale was surprisingly without surprises. It was, to be perfectly honest, rather average in programming - nothing innovative here this time. This was a bit disappointing, considering all the exciting concerts Russell and Leslie Harlow offered their audiences during the course of this festival. You'd think they could have saved one for Sunday.
However disappointing the programming, though, the performances, on the other hand, were stellar, as usual. Violinist Arturo Delmoni was once again present, and his performance was dazzling. An added treat was the husband and wife team of violinist Charles Libove and pianist Nina Lugovoy. These two are delightful, charming musicians, who also are a pleasure to hear perform.Delmoni and Libove were joined by violist Leslie Harlow, cellist Gayle Smith and pianist Craig Sheppard in an incomparable performance of Brahms' Piano Quintet in F minor, op. 34. These five artists played this music with a power and an intensity of spirit that lifted this performance above a mere musical experience and into another, loftier, realm.
The concert opened with Libove, Lugovoy and Smith playing one of Haydn's piano trios. This brief, three-movement work is an insignificant relative to Haydn's later chamber and symphonic output but is, nevertheless, a pleasant, melodic piece of music.
Delmoni and Lugovoy then thrilled the audience with Grieg's early Violin Sonata in G major, op. 13. In this work, Grieg isn't yet his own master - Brahms is a definite influence. And there is no influence from Nordic literature here, either, something that came to play an integral part in Grieg's mature output. Once in a while, though, you can hear some distinctly Nordic-tinged melodies.
Delmoni and Lugovoy were the perfect partners in this work. They sounded great together, and both played the work with sensitivity, bringing out the essence of the music.