Saturday's cool night drew a youngish crowd to Balboa Theater's beautifully restored auditorium, which was 80 percent full. We were greeted by Maestro David Atherton, who then turned and led the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra on a spunky reading of the short overture to Il re pastore.
The main attraction many came to hear, though, was Aaron Copland's rarely performed clarinet concerto, whose expressive solo was navigated by Anthony McGill. His playful virtuoso and the versatility of the orchestra jazzed the audience, which encouraged three curtain calls for the soloist.
The show took a long time to get through all eight movements of Mozart's Serenade in D, Haffner, composed when he was just 20 years old for Marie Elizabeth Haffner’s lavish 1776 wedding. Concertmaster William Preucil brought the house down with his singing violin solo and its engaging conversation with the wind soloists and responsive MMF Orchestra. The serenade, played from start to finish in one go, was on the long side for many in the audience, but the playing was so moving that most stayed and clapped everyone out for four curtain calls.
Concert: Copland's Clarinet Concerto & Mozart's Haffner
Date: June 12
Venue: Balboa Theater