FESTIVAL CONCERTS, First Unitarian Church, Dec. 3

In a break from the holiday themed concerts that are cropping up everywhere, violist Joel Rosenberg assembled a group of colleagues for a wonderful program of chamber music that featured works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as well as pieces by 19th century virtuoso violinist/composers Niccolò Paganini and Henryk Wieniawski.

The major works on the program were Paganini’s Concerto for Viola and String Quartet, which opened the concert, and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola.

For the Paganini, Rosenberg was joined by the Paradigm Quartet (Francine Potter and Barry Franson, violin; Coralee Karmazyn, viola; and Francesca Rose, cello). Best known for his violin concertos, this piece has all the elements contained in the better known works. Virtuosity and melodicism go hand in hand here, and the performance certainly brought out both. Rosenberg displayed technical chops as well as a keen sense of lyricism. And he was supported wonderfully by the quartet.

The Mozart, played with piano accompaniment, is a fabulously lyrical work that puts the violin and viola soloists on an equal footing. Rosenberg was joined by Utah Symphony assistant concertmaster David Park and the two gave a beautifully crafted and expressive account that was fluid and nuanced. They were accompanied by the young pianist Ubeeng Kueq, who showed a remarkable sense of balance in allowing the two string instruments to come through and be the stars.

In between these two works, Park put his expressive and virtuosic sides on display as he played the G major, op. 40, and the F major, op. 50, romances by Beethoven, along with Wieniawski’s fiendishly demanding Scherzo tarantelle.

Park gave eloquently lyrical readings of the two romances, bringing out the depth of expression these two works contain.

In the Wieniawski, Park pulled out all the stops and gave a tour de force account of the piece, making the demands the composer places on the soloist look easy.

In these three pieces Park was joined by Kueq, who once again showed he is a remarkably perceptive and astute accompanist.

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