New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall – Jaime Laredo conducts Mozart

The Marriage of Figaro, K492 – Overture
Sinfonia concertante in E-flat for Violin, Viola and Orchestra, K364
Symphony No.35 in D, K385 (Haffner)

Bella Hristova (violin) & Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt (viola)

New York String Orchestra
Jaime Laredo

Reviewed by: Susan Stempleski

Reviewed: 24 December, 2023
Venue: Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, New York City

This Christmas Eve program opened zestfully with a fleet but somewhat somber account of the Figaro overtureThe lithe and lively playing provided ample evidence of the technical proficiency of the NYSO but conveyed little of the sardonic and sparkling humor in Mozart’s operatic tour de force.

The highlight was a performance of the richly harmonious K364, featuring NYSO alumnae, Bella Hristova and Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt. A dramatic, sometimes plaintive, if always alluring work, it received a highly satisfying treatment. The soloists underlined the concert’s warm feeling of inclusivity and cooperation by also playing the orchestral parts. The most memorable moments were in the melancholy and mysterious Adagiowhere the low-lying line of the violin closely matched the viola in timbre, and the duo shaped the tranquil dialogue with a meltingly beautiful sound.

The short program concluded with a rewarding rendition of the ‘Haffner’ Symphony. The modulating development section of the opening movement had an attractive rhythmic bounce and the piece as a whole was enlivened by Laredo’s excellent control of dynamics, as he made the most of the contrasts between substantial fortes and super-soft pianissimos. The NYSO players performed with great enthusiasm and impressive technical control throughout, especially the fast-flying strings in the Finale.

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