The Boston Globe. February 18, 2002 Page: C3 Section: Living


By Richard Buell, Globe Correspondent

Lyricist Lorenz Hart was on to if not the whole truth, then at least a good part of it. When love congeals - we learn this in "I Wish I Were in Love Again" - "it soon reveals the faint aroma of performing seals, the double-crossing of a pair of heels." According to other sources, however, love makes the world go round. In observance of St. Valentine's Day, the Boston Classical Orchestra's most recent concerts were all about love, love, love. They were in favor of it.

Some of the proceedings did require you, though, to take the intention for the deed. In the Brahms "Liebeslieder (Love Song) Waltzes" (Op. 52), Adam Grossman's Master Singers visibly enjoyed their agreeable assignment: lovable music that, though light, comes right out of the composer's top drawer. The thing oozes, deliriously, with just the kind of worldly-wise Viennese sentiment that Freud eventually came along to spoil for everybody. Good tuning, no forcing of the tone, supple rhythms - these were on the plus side. A more focused, firmer, deeper sound would have helped, perhaps. But any chorus has its work cut out for it in Brahms's Op. 52. On records, Irmgard Seefried, Kathleen Ferrier, Julius Patzak, and Hans Hotter have made a case for it as vocal-quartet (rather than choral) music that can't be answered. It didn't help the performance, either, that the composer's original piano four-hand accompaniment had been supplanted by one for string ensemble. The arrangement was not by Brahms, and it made an execrable noise. The rest of the concert made for contrary impressions. Are not Jacques Zoon, Boston Symphony Orchestra flutist, and his wife, the cellist Iseut Chuat, the most delightful of musical married couples? Not in Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante (K. 364), they weren't. To replace Mozart's violin/viola duo with a flute/cello one is to ask for trouble. Here, for much of the time, you had the cello straining at the top of its register in a vain effort not to sound like a cello. Very likely any cellist's intonation would have suffered; certainly Chuat's did. Paul Desenne's "Pas de Deux, sans Trois: A Valentine Day's celebration for flute, cello, harp and strings" painted another picture entirely. The piece itself is a find - charming, inventive, playfully busy in its rhythmic textures, and marvelously alive to the world of colors and glints and shimmers that instruments in combination are waiting around to have unloosed from them. The piece made Zoon and Chuat sound like a million bucks. They made it sound like a million bucks. Desenne, who was born in Venezuela in 1959, is not a glib composer. His total output, he reports, comes to eight hours of music. "Pas de Deux" had one eager to hear the rest.

Finally, a non-note of non-breaking non-news. Everybody is dying to know: Is Zoon leaving the BSO, staying, or what? As of Friday night the answer from Zoon himself, when asked, was not even a "no comment" but silence.