Last night at Lisner Auditorium the Washington Chamber Orchestra under Alvin Lunde continued its season with a program designed to fall easily upon the ears. Combining a symphony from Mozart's 16th year with Mendelssohn's violin concerto and a Dvorak suite, the evening produced amiable, if not particularly distinctive, results.
Lunde has a body of intelligent musicians who have a good sense of ensemble and musical phrasing. Unfortunately, he makes few demands upon them beyond asking -- and receiving -- playing of transparent lightness and charm. In the opening Mozart Symphony No. 18, K. 130, he showed no sense of the telling detail that enlivens or reveals. Fascinating hints of the composer's future mastery were left untouched in an interpretation of notable blandness.
The orchestra's concertmaster, Timothy Baker, was featured in the Mendelssohn Concerto. After a rather hurried beginning Baker settled down to a fluid and agile effort, which, nonetheless, retained a tentative air. Baker seems still in the process of defining his approach to the music and to his role as a soloist. His most distinctive attribute would appear to be a wistful, almost reluctant, tenderness, which might prove a fertile source for a more intense expressiveness.
The closing Suite for Orchestra, Op. 39, by Dvorak, brought forth some lovely solos from the woodwinds and an infectious rhythmic lilt from the strings.