Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Rafael Druian, who wore two hats Sunday night as conductor and violin soloist with the National Symphony Chamber Orchestra at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, illustrated an old saw: It's hard to be at your best at two things at once.
Druian shared the solo duties in the opening Telemann Concerto for Violin and Trumpet with Adel Sanchez, then took on the florid solo part in the Haydn A Major Concerto. But both pieces seemed out of focus.
Sanchez was the incisive one in the Telemann, where Druian as violinist, sounded faint and far away. His attacks were fuzzy and the orchestra's coordination with the solo line was often only approximate.
If the NSO Chamber Orchestra played together as an ensemble regularly, this coordination would come much more easily. But conductorless playing is a lot to ask of any ad hoc group.
The finest music-making of the evening came with the first complete Washington performance of "Anamnesis" by Andreas Makris, a member of the NSO's violin section. It is a joyful and delightful work in three movements, expertly orchestrated and constructed with humor and sensitivity in an appealing idiom. The orchestra played it as if they enjoyed it, too.
The concert ended with a rather driven performance of Mozart's Symphony No. 26.