Carmel Bach Festival Chamber Concert — “Summer Winds”

Peter Lemberg, Meredith Brown & Keenan Boswell

On Sunday evening, July 16, at All Saints Church in Carmel, the Carmel Bach Festival continued its series of Candlelight Chamber Concerts — this one called “Summer Winds”– in a program containing performances of Mozart’s Quintet in E-flat Major for Piano and Winds, K.452, Paul Hindemith’s Kleine Kammermusik, Op. 24, No. 2, and concluding with selections from Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, originally for solo piano, but arranged by Mason Jones for wind ensemble.

The players on this occasion were flutist Dawn Loree Walker, oboist Peter Lemberg, hornist Meredith Brown, bassoonist Britt Hebert, clarinetist Erin Finkelstein and pianist Keenan Boswell. All Saints Church was nicely candlelit and, as always, beautifully resonant with some of the best acoustics on the Monterey Peninsula for intimate ensemble concerts.

The Mozart Piano Quintet gave us an opportunity to hear pianist Boswell, for the piano in this work has a major role. He proved to be musically sensitive and digitally nimble — a good combination in a pianist. Although Dawn Walker wasn’t participating in this work, we heard some very good playing by Lemberg, Brown, Hebert and Finkelstein (doesn’t that sound like a law firm?).

The novelty on the program was the Hindemith Kleine Kammermusik, and it proved to be a very agreeable work full of interesting rhythmic and melodic details, plus being well written for for wind instruments. Especially memorable was some of the deft and masterful playing by hornist Meredith Brown — I heard some sounds from her horn I didn’t think possible, and they mixed very well with the other instruments.

Flutist Dawn Walker joined the ensemble for the last work on the program — the Ravel transcription. This was the least successful work on the program, for it seemed underrehearsed, sort of like of piece of Hausmusik in someone’s home where a group of musicians got together and read through a piece that was not regularly in their repertoire. Obviously they had a good time reading through it, and since we are talking about some very good, professional musicians, the audience had a good time listening to it.

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