By Dennis D. Rooney
This is a partial review. I was caught in a bad traffic jam on Interstate 95 northbound through Lake Worth that delayed my arrival in Palm Beach Gardens for a concert Feb. 14 by the Atlantic Classical Orchestra concert until the finale of Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, which opened the program.
I was in my seat by the time Sirena Huang appeared onstage to perform Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto with the orchestra under the direction of David Amado. Of the several venues in which the ACO’s programs are presented in Martin and St. Lucie counties, Eissey easily has the best acoustics, which benefited both the concerto’s orchestral textures and balance with the soloist.
Winner of the inaugural Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition held last year at Lynn University, Huang gave evidence of increased maturity and artistic growth just in the year that has passed. In her extroverted account of Barber’s 1941 concerto, a work of great lyric beauty but one that occasionally veers toward overwrought expression, Huang confidently controlled that tendency, and both she and Amado avoided any hint of sentimentality, especially in the middle Andante, where, expressively, less is usually more.
The moto perpetuo finale, once thought either too difficult or too short, now raises no eyebrows at all, unless it is to smile in admiration at the soloist’s aplomb. Huang enjoyed an excellent accompaniment that demonstrated some audible improvements have taken suggested that some personnel problems had been solved.
Amado, in his second season as the ACO’s music director, conducted a post-intermission performance of Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 (in C, Op. 61), in which the musical impulse was variable. For the most part, he chose quick tempos, which benefited the symphony’s outer movements and the scherzo, although the latter movement was not as playful as it should have been.
The clarinet solo in the Adagio espressivo was well played; the oboe solo was unreliable in tone and tuning. One or two more rehearsals would have certainly raised the overall performance level significantly. It is good to have the ACO in Palm Beach County. Their remaining Eissey programs this season, on March 14 and April 4, deserve community support.