The closing concert of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s summer festival got off to a rousing start with Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3.
The piece is one of four he wrote for his opera, Fidelio, and it is obvious why it didn’t work: The overture is so completely self-contained and exciting that it would be hard to follow. (Besides, it gives away the plot.)
Music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya gave it a sensational performance, with blindingly fast tempos that demanded exceptional virtuosity from everyone. The extravagant overture was the perfect opener, bringing everyone at the Classical Masters Festival to peak attention on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Haydn’s Keyboard Concerto in D Major Concerto followed. The soloist, the young Chilean pianist Gustavo Miranda-Bernales, impressed in the 2013 Cliburn Competition by not impressing — in the midst of high-flying virtuosity, he opened with Schubert’s modest Four Impromptus, Op. 142, giving them unadorned and sensitive interpretations. It didn’t get him into the winner’s circle, but it made an impression.
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Miranda-Bernales’ left hand was too loud in the opening phrases, but the balance improved as the concerto progressed. He delivered an immaculately brisk and clean performance. The slow movement received a beautifully legato performance that Papa Haydn could only dream about on the harpsichord. In the final rondo, Miranda-Bernales took increasing delight with the theme’s multiple returns.
Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in C Major K. 551, the last from the master’s pen, was given the title of Jupiter by subsequent editors. Hearing the majestic wonder, it is unfathomable to contemplate what would have followed had the composer lived past 35.
Harth-Bedoya led the FWSO in a performance that teemed with fresh vitality, lifting the music off of the dusty pages and bringing it to life as if it were written yesterday.
Note: The mystery guest principal flutist at the festival was Jacob Mende-Fridkis, principal flute in the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra. Extraordinary in all three concerts, he was the talk of the town.