The Aulos Wind Quintet, admired here in past concerts, returned yesterday afternoon to play in the Kennedy Center. With Lorin Hollander as guest pianist, they closed the afternoon with the quintet for piano and winds in which Beethoven expressed his admiration for Mozart's work for the same combination.
It is music at once Mozartean in spirit, yet so much Beethoven in its ideas and working out. The performance was in an appropriately quiet vein, the piano held to a luminous kind of lively but modified sound.
The wind players must be named, for each is a superlative performer: Judith Mendenhall, flute; Rudolph Virbsky, oboe; David singer, clarinet; Alexander Heller, bassoon, and RObert Routch, horN. It is precisely their kind of virtuousity, which extends deep into the nature and meaning of music, that made their traversal of the Schoenberg Quintet at the opening of the concert outstanding.
In its serial counterpoint, the quintet is not easy for some listeners, one of whom asked yesterday, "What is the point of Schoenberg?" Yet the answer, to that question is exactly the same as it would be if asked about Beethoven.
The familiar three pieces by Jacques Ibert were the perfect foil to Schoenberg and Beethoven.