Last night at the Kennedy Center the Philharmonic Orchestra of Mexico City contributed a lively turn to the parade of talent taking part in Washington's 12th Inter-American Music Festival. Under its music director, Fernando Lazano, the 2-year-old orchestra brought some impressive musicianship to a program full of big, bright sounds and pleasing melodies.
In the orchestra's short history Lozano has shaped a remarkably precise and well-balanced ensemble. Still in the process of developing its personality, its musicians play with notable responsiveness and intelligence, due largely to Lozano's firm beat and clear concepts. The complex rhythms and piquant character of the opening works by the Mexican composers, Silvestre Revueltas and Miguel Bernal-Jimenez, were skillfully handled. Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" revealed the fine blend of the strings though their tone lacked the glow and depth necessary for the fullest interpretation.
Respigh's "The Pines of Rome" closed the evening, giving the orchestra a chance to show off its palette of colors, beginning with a crisp lightness and building to a satisfying roundness in the final passage. Lozano's purposeful pacing in this work and throughout the program, even if on the cautious side, proved consistently interesting.