Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven are perhaps the quintessential composers of Western art music, so it only makes sense to pair their music together in performance.  This performance did just that.  Greensboro Symphony Orchestra’s Maestro Dmitri Sitkovetsky and Friends gave a wonderful performance of Mozart’s String Quintet No. 5 in D major, K. 593, followed by visiting violinist Mayuko Kamio in a performance of Beethoven’s famous Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op. 49 “Kreutzer.”

After a round of introductions, the evening was off to a start with Mozart’s charming quintet. It differs from other string quintets in that it features not one but two violas. Members of the quartet were Sitkovetsky and Mayuko Kamio, violin, Scott Rawls and Gizem Yucel , viola, Alexander Ezerman, cello. One of Mozart’s last compositions, it’s full of the joy and gaiety that infuse many of the Austrian composer’s major key works. The proceedings were lead by Sitkovetsky in the first violin chair. It was clear that every performer was attuned to one another. Throughout the four-movement piece, the level of communication from phrase to phrase made it a wholly enjoyable experience. What was most interesting about the work is Mozart’s use of silence in its movements. It plays just as important a role in this composition as the music does. It gives the music room to breathe in what is a strikingly polyphonic work.

Following a brief pause to clear the stage of the chairs for the quintet and an introduction from Sitkovetsky, Japanese violinist Mayuko Kamio presented her interpretation of Beethoven’s famous “Kreutzer” Sonata. UNCG faculty pianist Inara Zandmane joined Ms. Kamio for a rip-snorting performance of Beethoven’s famous piece. Cast in three movements, the work bears all of the trademarks of the Bonn-born composer’s middle period. Wildly emotional, intense, and ultimately compelling, it rightly deserves its place in the violin repertoire. The performance Ms. Kamio gave was most interesting. She played with a fervent passion for the music, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats throughout. Not a short composition by any standard (it stands at a healthy 45 minutes), every turn of phrase yielded bounteous musical results. It also made for an interesting contrast to Mozart’s Classicism. Whereas Beethoven is wild and emotive, Mozart is cool and logical. To hear the juxtaposition of these two Viennese greats was an absolute delight.  A warm ovation greeted the two ladies at the end of their performance.