Elsewhere the drought took its toll, but the UCLA campus has been richly awash these last four days — inundated, that is, with magical Mozart, much of it unfamiliar, all of it beautifully done. Perhaps the limitations suggested by the title “Baroque Mozart” were not strictly observed in this third biennial E. Nakamichi Festival, but so what? Mozart’s genius belongs to all ages; it spills beyond the historians’ attempts to cram it into a single stylistic period. Friday night’s Royce Hall concert proved this point triumphantly. The shadows of Mozart’s musical ancestors fell across the evening’s big choral work, a C- major Mass (No. 337 in Koechel’s chronological listing) full of the rousing glories that Mozart might (or might not) have gleaned from Handel, and very Baroque indeed in the “Benedictus” section that starts off in a Handelian, fugal manner and moves with Handelian ease into its exultant Hosannas. But the program also included the evidence of Mozart’s uncanny prophesies of musical styles to come: in the rhapsodic meanderings in the slow movement of the G-major Piano Concerto (K. 453) and, indeed, in the way that whole miraculous work seems like a conversation about romantic, personal emotions. Again, as at earlier concerts last week, the visiting Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra from San Francisco, with its marvelously rich-sounding (if sometimes treacherous) instruments modeled on those of Mozart’s time, filled Royce Hall with sounds most mellow and grand. Even the seating of the players was authentically Mozartian, to allow for a dramatic give and take between, say, first violins on one side and seconds on the other, or between trumpets and trombones widely separated. Malcolm Bilson was the soloist in the concerto, hampered somewhat by a rather drab-sounding early-style piano, but still finely sensitive to the way Mozart’s miraculous scoring merges the solo instrument into his iridescent orchestration. The chorus in the Mass (and in a remarkable single “Kyrie,” K. 341) was that fine local group, I Cantori, not heard around here nearly often enough; the solo quartet included the radiant soprano Judith Nelson. Neal Stulberg conducted, replacing the orchestra’s own Nicholas McGegan who was obliged to honor European commitments this week. Stulberg, remembered hereabouts as the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s assistant conductor in the Giulini days, now has Albuquerque’s New Mexico Symphony as home base. His work this week has been that of a poised, insightful, communicative musician; this “rediscovery” has proven one of the festival’s most festive byproducts. Alongside the evening events, the Nakamichi program offered a full bill of daytime concerts: Haydn and Mozart by Judith Nelson with Bilson at the same early-style piano, a solo Bilson recital, a fascinating concert by UCLA’s Thomas Harmon on the university’s splendid Baroque organ, and some fine- grained playing by Gregory Maldonado’s Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra. It all made for a busy four days, full of rewards and, with the Mozart bicentennial due upon us next year, an enticing foretaste of things to come.

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