Music at Shaarey Tefilla 

Four stars
Congregation Shaarey Tefilla; Dec. 15

Violist Michael Strauss, in his welcoming remarks at the premiere of “Music at Shaarey Tefilla,” established the expectation of edgy programming of chamber music in its true sense, interpreting compositions for the sheer pleasure of playing together in a setting interested in broadening its commitment to building community. An hour later, this expectation was fulfilled. Mark Ortwein opened with a “solo contrabassoon piece, which does its best to make soulful, liquid birdcalls.” Is “Bass Nightingale” mocking or is it offering another way of accepting limitations? The playing was a virtuoso delight. Mozart was the first to add the clarinet to a string quartet. We’re grateful. “Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K.581” shares sheer beauty as a lilting opening theme flows from strings to clarinet. David Bellman joined violinists Michelle Kang and Juliette Javaheri, Strauss and cellist Cathleen Partlow Strauss. Flutist Anne Reynolds, bassist Peter Hansen and Strauss showcased Schulhoff’s “Concertino for flute, viola and double bass” with its echoes of oriental delicacy inserting itself into Schulhoff’s jazz piano background. Mozart’s achingly lovely Adagio-Allegro “Viola Quintet No. 4 in G Minor, K.516” closed the program. All in all a welcome new series to an already rich Indianapolis chamber culture.

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Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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