Charles Haupt, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's retiring concertmaster, is now working on a concert series called "A Musical Feast."
Wednesday night marked the debut performance for Haupt's concept and, if the programming and concertizing for "A Musical Feast" continue to be as interesting as the initial offering was, it might become one of Western New York's cultural jewels.
First on the Kavinoky Theatre program was Arnold Schoenberg's short (eight or so minutes) "Phantasy" for Violin with Piano Accompaniment, Op. 47. Commendably played by Haupt and pianist Claudia Hoca, this technically demanding piece was composed in 1949 and turned out to be the composer's last instrumental work.
The odd qualifier on the score's title page refers to the fact that Schoenberg composed the violin part of this 12-tone piece first and added the piano section later.
Flutist Cheryl Gobbetti-Hoffman played an arrangement of Benjamin Britten's "Six Metamorphoses After Ovid," a piece originally created for solo oboe.
Not surprisingly, Gobbetti-Hoffman carried off the challenges posed by the score with aplomb, especially in the graceful "Niobe" and quirky "Bacchus" sections of the work.
Arnold Bax's "Legend" for Viola and Piano and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Duo for Violin and Viola in G major were apt showcases for violist Jesse Levine.
The Bax piece was fairly lightweight in tone, rife with Celtic-inflected tunes, but it did show off Levine's technique. The Mozart work found Levine and Haupt working together to present a vibrant (especially in the Rondo), frequently elegant performance of this gem.
Violinist Charles Castleman began the second half of the concert by himself, alone on stage with his violin and Eugene Ysaye's formidable Sonata in E minor for Solo Violin, Op. 27, No. 4.
Ysaye was a brilliant violinist whose reputation and abilities were such that he had works dedicated to him by Claude Debussy (String Quartet), Cesar Franck (Violin Sonata) and Ernest Chausson ("Poeme" for Violin and Orchestra), all of which are mainstays on the concert circuit.
Needless to say, Castleman had his work cut out for him but he followed through with considerable confidence.
Closing out the program was a delightful performance of Antonin Dvorak's "Terzetto" for Two Violins and Viola, Op. 74 with Castleman, Haupt and Levine.
The violist seemed to have the most fun in the Scherzo, garnering a chuckle from his compatriots with an exuberant upward thrust of his bow at the end.
"A Musical Feast"
Featuring Charles Haupt, Charles Castleman, Jesse Levine, Claudia Hoca and Cheryl Gobbetti-Hoffman on Wednesday night in Kavinoky Theatre.