Europeans bring fiery brilliance to Princeton

Although retired since 2014, I still relish opportunities to teach, write, and share opinions.
The Mahler Chamber Orchestra appeared Thursday evening March 24 at Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall. 
 
This concert was originally intended for March 2020, but was cancelled due to the covid pandemic. How wonderful for us all that this excellent group of musicians could return years later. 
 
Mark Steinberg acted as Concertmaster and Leader, while the renowned pianist Mitsuko Uchida played two Mozart piano concertos with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. It was a special joy to hear this acclaimed ensemble in the intimate 900-seat Richardson Auditorium. 
 
Ms. Uchida conducted from the piano first Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 (1786), followed by the orchestra playing Henry Purcell’s Fantasias (1680) before intermission. The second part of the program featured Ms. Uchida once again playing Mozart. This time, it was his Piano Concerto No. 24. It isn’t often that an audience is favored with such beautiful, scrupulous, and lush playing. Every musician appeared to be electrified. They played brilliantly. The string sections were beyond reproach. However, the flute, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns and trumpets seemed to possess an incandescent fire. Remarkable. 
 
The audience would not allow the artists to leave after the program ended, but continued to call back Ms. Uchida to the stage, and rightly so. Bowing to the commands of the standing audience, the pianist treated us all to an encore, Arnold Schoenberg’s Six Little Piano Pieces, Op. 19, No. 2. Return soon, dear Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and bring the dazzling Mitsuko Uchida with you! Princeton needs you. Philadelphia needs you. 

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