Young string players buoy BCO anniversary
According to at least one imposing authority, H.C. Robbins Landon, Haydn composed his Symphony No. 35 in 1767 for a specific festive occasion: to welcome his employer at the time, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, home from what effectively amounted to a style-scouting excursion to Versailles in Paris. The symphony once again served festive ends in a blithe, buoyant account by the Boston Classical Orchestra at Faneuil Hall on Sunday afternoon, ending a concert that marked the hardy chamber orchestra's 35th anniversary.
As it happened, the players and their music director, Steven Lipsitt, had rather a lot of celebrating to pack into their program. The concert opened with Gluck's Overture in D, observing the 300th anniversary of that composer's birth in 1714. Fleeting measures of fuzzy ensemble among violins at the onset notwithstanding, the appealing starter aptly showed the orchestra's estimable grasp of 18th-century style.
With Haydn's Cello Concerto in D, thrice familiar and never unwelcome, came what was billed as the Boston debut of soloist Meehae Ryo, a South Korean cellist who studied in New York and Michigan, and now resides in Vienna. On the evidence of her recent Deutsche Grammophon debut album, a pairing of concertos by Saint-Saëns and Elgar, Ryo is a skillful performer with a knack for long, singing lines.
That aptitude came through in her warm tone and melting phrasing in Haydn's Adagio and her nimble, buoyant work in the closing Allegro. But ill-tuned notes and obdurate gestures in the opening Allegro moderato imparted a sensation of tentativeness that proved tough to shake, even when Ryo asserted her authority in the cadenza.
No caveats applied to a performance of Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 (K. 219, "Turkish") that featured In Mo Yang. Also South Korean, Yang is a student of Miriam Fried at the New England Conservatory, a 2014 Concert Artists Guild competition winner, and, most recently, the winner of the Boston Classical Orchestra's inaugural Young Artists Competition.
From his first entrance onward, Yang was an arresting performer: now sweet, now excitable, now chaste, now florid, and always, everywhere, in command. Yang provided his own artful cadenzas, each showcasing his dexterity while also adhering to Mozart's insuperable continuity. Throughout, the orchestra brilliantly matched his style and exuberance.
An instantaneous, extended ovation retrieved Yang for a well-deserved encore: an account of the Largo from Bach's Sonata in C (BWV 1005) as notable for its graciousness and sobriety as for its technical security.
Remember his name.