Fairfax Symphony director William Hudson received a well deserved kiss from Lilli Kraus at the end of the Schumann piano concerto Saturday night. With true professionalism he and the orchestra, had followed her lead, even through several memory lapses.
It was an unfortunate night for Kraus. She began the Schumann boldly, if somewhat slowly, displaying that special sensitivity and variety of touch for which she is famous. A few faltering measures toward the end of the first movement and a less than forceful cadenza hinted, however, at troubles to come. Her coloring and shaping of lines in the second movement reflected her best form, but a complete lapse of memory in the third movement broke her concentration and she never really got back in stride.
In its portion of the program the symphony played with a precision and responsiveness that belied its amateur status. Under Hudson's careful and thoughful tutelage the musicians are growing steadily in musical awareness and sophistication. They are no longer merely playing together; they are making music.
Their performance of Mozart's Symphony No. 35 was notable for its agility and spirit. A few rapid passages excepted, the strings played with commendable clarity and accuracy. Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphoses revealed a confident brass section, some lovely flute playing and a full, well-balanced tutti sound. The overall intelligence of the orchestra's playing made the occasional flub hardly worth noting.