Charlotte Symphony Comes back with Violinist Simone Porter & Live AudienceJun 5, 2021
By Timothy H. Lindeman, CVNC
The Charlotte Symphony, led by resident conductor Christopher James Lees, performed works by W.A. Mozart and Ottorino Respighi Saturday night. The concert opened with guest violinist Simone Porter performing the former's Violin Concerto No. 3 in G, K.216.
Mozart wrote at least five violin concertos, all before he was 25, and all in three movements: fast-slow-fast. The third concerto has the subtitle, "Straßburger-Concert," most likely because the third movement includes a popular tune of the time known as "The Straßburger."
The evening opened with Lees giving introductory remarks, stating that this was the first concert the CSO has performed before a live audience in more than 13 months. He asked the viewers to pay attention to the amount of energy that comes with live performances.
It was indeed nice to have an audience greet concertmaster Calin Ovidiu Lupanu with hearty applause. The audience also warmly welcomed conductor Lees and soloist Porter, certainly a welcome transformation from the silent, no-live-listener concerts that have characterized streamed performances for more than a year.
The orchestra jumped into the opening with good spirits and energy, exemplifying the effervescent mood of the first movement. Porter picked up the dynamism, and the electricity was palpable. Perhaps the downbeats were a bit too accented by the orchestra, but not enough to distract from the general buoyancy. Porter's authority of the score was never in question from soaring lyricism to the dramatic moments in the each of the movements and in the cadenzas (with some pyrotechnics thrown in for good measure) all was well-balanced.