Webern, Ussachevsky, Druckman, and even Boccherini are composers whose beautiful music ought to be heard more often. The American Camerata for New Music played works by all four Sunday afternoon at the Corcoran Gallery, and if the music was not new, it certainly sounded fresh.
Anton Webern's 1934 Concerto for Nine Instruments is still a surprising piece, but it has acquired a peaceful aura as our ears have grown used to harsher sounds. The Camerata's reading was lively under John Stephens' direction, and the score's geometric configurations had all the spontaneity of lightly falling snowflakes. The second movement strolled deliberately around the form of beauty, and the waddling finale remained playfully inconclusive.
Also lovely was Vladimir Ussachevsky's 1952 Intermezo for Piano and Orchestra. This conservative work is cut too short from a Mahlerian cloth, but it would have been difficult not to have been captivated by the sensuous performance. Pianist Evelyn Garvey brought an almost Mozartean elegance to her part, and the opening cantilena brought out some ravishing singing from Robert Odmark's horn.
Luigi Boccherini's popular Cello Concerto in B-flat Major also pleased. Glenn Garlick has a passionate way with the cello, and his romantic impetus more than made up for occasional lapses of intonation under pressure. The third movement acquired a rushed pedestrian flavor, but even there his cadenza was thrilling. The concert closed with Jacob Druckman's clever "Incenters."