Dave and I went to hear the San Francisco Chamber Symphony last night in an all-Mozart concert at Freight & Salvage. SFCO’s concerts are always a lot of fun. They started with the second piano quartet, then a sonata for bassoon and cello that Mozart allegedly wrote when still a teenager (it’s fairly short, charming but slight, and very likely spurious), and finally the first of the Prussian string quartets.
The sonata in the middle was played by cello (taking the bassoon part) and viola (taking the cello part), which worked well, though the piece itself is pretty ordinary. Mozart’s string quartets have never grabbed me much (unlike Haydn’s, which I’m crazy about), but the first Prussian was given a lovely, elegant performance, very enjoyable.
My favorite piece of the evening, though, was the piano quartet that started the concert, which seemed to me to have more striking melodies, and to develop them with more invention and liveliness, than the string quartet did, even though the string quartet is plainly a much more sophisticated and polished composition.
There was much silliness, too, with music director Ben Simon dressed absurdly as Mozart and answering questions from the audience in the “Ask Wolfie” section during the intermission break. Not a serious evening at all, just good fun and good music.