In its sixth visit to the seasons of the Argentine Mozarteum (the previous one had been in 2018 with the great Argentine mezzo Bernarda Fink), the Camerata Salzburg returned to the Teatro Colón.
As on that occasion, the Austrian group was presented according to the format it has held since 2016: the same members are self-directed, guided by their concertmasters Gregory Ahss and Giovanni Guzzo, in a "democratic" work, in which musical decisions are made in a consensual manner.
For this South American tour in which he performed, it was Guzzo (born in Venezuela and trained in that country, in Spain and in Great Britain) who had to assume the musical direction and the solo role, in a program according to the most traditional format and stylistically very coherent.
Camerata Salzburg. It was the sixth visit of the Austrian group to Buenos Aires. Photo Liliana Morsia/Argentine Mozarteum Press
How was the concert
The concert opened with the last of the six delightful symphonies of opus 6 by Johann Christian Bach (the youngest of Johann Sebastian's sons, identified within his great musical family as "The Bach of London" or "The Bach of Milan" for the cities in which he had an illustrious residence).
The Camerata Salzburg's astonishing capacity for a dynamic range that seems to have no limits, the meticulous work of articulation and the detailed work of bows were evident throughout this chiaroscuro-rich work that prefigures some features of the late Mozart or Beethoven.
As expected, Guzzo and the Camerata form a perfect unit, and no matter how much the concertmaster-conductor-soloist is located in front of them, vibrates in total communion with the ensemble.
This was visible from the introduction of Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 (K. 219). Guzzo does not waste energy in marking tempos or measures (it would be a useless task in front of an orchestra that marches like a clockwork), but marks musical impulses and intentions, and he does it with the whole body.
In his solo aspect, the Italian-Venezuelan musician displays an incomparable bow technique and a sumptuous sound, which he puts at the service of his enormous musicality and knowledge of the style.
Camerata Salzburg, a luxury presented by the Argentine Mozarteum at the Colón. Photo Liliana Morsia/Argentine Mozarteum Press
The first intervention of the solo violin of the initial movement (Allegro aperto) marked the magnificence of phrasing and expression, which were continued in the poetic adagio.
Guzzo and the Camerata gave full life to the final rondo, with a brilliant interpretation of the section that gives the nickname of Turk to the concerto, and within it an electrifying execution of Mozart's indication to play the strings with the wood of the bow.
A chronological leap
The second part of the concerto proposed a chronological rather than stylistic leap: written at age 19 (the same age Mozart was when he composed the Turkish concerto), Franz Schubert's fifth symphony that was heard is explicitly inspired by Mozart's last symphonies and some of Haydn's.
The version of the Camerata Salzburg stripped the work (conceived for a small organic and premiered in a domestic format) of any romantic vestige and took it fully to the aesthetics of Viennese classicism, to give it a full coherence within the selection of the night.
Camerata Salzburg. Precision and musicality for an excellent concert at the Teatro Colón. Photo Liliana Morsia/Argentine Mozarteum Press
Out of the program two works were heard: after Mozart, Guzzo delivered a perfect version of the first movement of the fourth of the sonatas for solo violin by Eugène Ysaÿe, and at the end of the concert the Camerata brought more echoes of its land with a sparkling polka (Éljen a Magyar!) by Johann Strauss Jr., for the enjoyment of an audience that followed the concert with exemplary concentration.
Violin and direction: Giovanni Guzzo Season: Mozarteum Argentino Theater: Colón, Monday, June 5.